The former president of Ethio-Somali regional state, Abdi Muhamoud Omar has dismissed charges of crimes against humanity which were committed during his reign.
Appearing before at Lideta Criminal Court on Wednesday, Omar pleaded not guilty saying he ruled his state in accordance with the Ethiopian constitution.
“I administered the state in a proper way, and I did not commit any crime. I am not guilty,” he said.
The former president called on the court to give him freedom saying he did nothing wrong.
The court also ordered the police to publish names and photos of seven other suspects who are still at large.
All are accused of killing and wounding people as well as causing the displacement thousands in the capital city, Jigjiga, and other towns, according to Ezega Media based in Ethiopia.
About 50 individuals were charged along with Abdi Illey in August 2019. Those suspects who were arrested and charged under the same alleged crimes complained that justice has not yet beenserved and that they continue to be mistreated.
On January 25, the Attorney General’s office revealed that the August violence resulted in the killings of 58 people while 266 were injured.
The report by the office also revealed gruesome details which were previously unreported, including the discovery of a mass grave where the remains of 42 of the victims were found.
Police have been in search of other suspects who are still at large. The delay in apprehending the suspects and finding other evidences has created obstacles for the court to pass verdicts, the defendants have said.