by Open Doors USA
Dawit Jemberu, Tibebu Mekuria and Belete Tilahun deny that there is any connection between them and the burning of the building. Dawit and Tibebu were arrested on arson charges a month after the fire occurred, and Belete on accusations of financially supporting the attack.
In their first hearing, multiple witnesses testified that the men were not anywhere near the building at the time of the fire. Their lawyer noted that the witness brought by the prosecution presented an inconsistent testimony that contradicted itself. Nonetheless, on Oct. 28, 2014 all of the men were found guilty, based on the one inconsistent witness testimony. Dawit and Tibebu face nine years, and Belete eight years. They appealed.
In November, the ruling was upheld, after which their lawyer appealed to a higher court. The following month, their appeal was again rejected, prompting their lawyer to appeal to the Federal Supreme Court. The hearing has been postponed twice, and is currently scheduled for Oct. 23, 2015.
Despite the fact that they are still in the appeals process, the men have been ordered to pay over $50,000 in a lawsuit against them claiming compensation for damages related to the fire...