Fresh evidence in case of attack on Eritrean editor

Supporters of Amanuel Eyasu at first court hearing

Over two hours of CCTV and police body camera footage is today being scrutinized by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and barristers at ‘silver circle’ international law firm Mishcon de Raya following a magistrates instruction to further investigate the series of attacks by supporters of the Eritrean Government.

The CPS and private barristers are prosecuting Yacob Gebremedhin for assault following attacks on the editor of Assenna TV, Amanuel Eyasu. The decision on the 12th December to set a new court date to further investigate not only Gebremedhin, who pleaded guilty, but also those who aided the attack and filmed it.

Under joint enterprise laws those who assist a crime can also be found guilty if they in any way assisted in committing that crime. The increasing frequency and brazen nature of the attacks has led to growing concern about the group of attackers. Stratford Magistrates Court will hear the case a second time on the 18th February 2020 at 10am.

The video evidence is being used to investigate the nature and identity of the group of attackers. Legal teams are currently analysing the extensive footage to determine who Gebremedhin plotted with to trick journalist Amanuel Gebrekidan into meeting with the attackers by pretending to have information for Assenna TV. 

Those who cheered Gebremedhin on had clear political motivation and filmed the attack in order to create propaganda materials and intimidate those who speak out against the repressive Eritrean regime.

At the magistrates direction, Crown Prosecution Service and private barriers working together will put forward extensive evidence and analysis showing criminal culpability for a persistent group of attackers who have repeatedly attempted to stifle journalistic freedoms and freedom of speech in the UK.

Increasing concern over the behavior of this group of attackers led to the Parliamentary Researcher and Coordinator of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Eritrea attending the hearing to report to MPs on any political dimension that trial may have uncovered.

The growing concern in legal and political circles over the continued brazen attacks has led to increase scrutiny of pro-Eritrean regime groups and may lead to bolder steps being taken by judges and government in the future.

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