Unprovoked attack on Amanuel: Second Hearing – Stratford Magistrate Court, London
It is to be recalled that Mr Yacob Gebremedhin, who has a criminal history, attacked Amanuel Eyus, the Founder and Editor of Assenna, on 26 November 2019. At the first hearing on 12 December, Mr Gebremedhin pleaded guilty to an unprovoked attack on Amanuel. The judge deferred sentencing to 18 February 2020 to give the police and Crown Prosecution Service time to gather additional evidence, including CCTV footage from Putney Bridge Station where the attack took place.
The second hearing took place at 10:00 hours London time this morning. In summing up the hearing the judge said this was a callous and sinister attack not only on Amanuel but on members of the general public. She added, this was a serious matter, especially for someone to commit the same crime twice within a 12-month period. The judge, having viewed the CCTV footage, was satisfied it was a planned and pre-mediated group attack. Accordingly, Mr Gebremedhin was found guilty of Category 1 crime and handed down the following sentence:
- A sixteen weeks custodial sentence – this was suspended for 2 years. In the event Mr Gebremedhin commits any further crime, he will serve the full 16 weeks in prison in addition to any sentence relating to other crime he commits;
- Thirty days criminal electronic tagging – Mr Gebremedhin will be electronically tagged on his leg from 19 hours to 7am each day so the police can monitor his where abouts. If he breaches this, he will be locked up for 16 weeks;
- A five-year restraint order – Mr Gebremedhin is restrained from contacting Amanuel by all means, including social media, for a period of 5 years. If he breaches this, he can be locked up for 16 weeks. [Since the hearing and at a restaurant in North London this afternoon, Mr Gebremedhin has breached this restraint and the evidence has been passed to the police]; and
- Pay £600 compensation to Amanuel – Mr Gebremedhin pleaded destitute without any money to support himself (including his wife and three children) and that he was entirely dependent on handouts from others – with no job or anything else that sustains a law abiding individual. The judge, taking pity of these sad mitigating factors, ruled for the payment to be paid in instalments, with the first instalment of £150 due on 1 April 2020.
After the hearing and oblivious of the seriousness of Mr Gebremdhin’s sentence, his supporters waiving our national flag (for which our brothers and sisters died so we can be free) chanted jubilation. The feeling of indignation on the face of justice seekers was everywhere to see. How can we educate these zombies the reality of life was the question that kept cropping up to mind? Here you have a 50-year-old man with a series of crimes that make him frankly unemployable for the rest of his life, even as a min-cab driver, and yet people celebrate his sentence.
In his statement, Mr Gebremedhin admitted a group attack i.e. he had 2 or 3 people involved with him in the attack. Unfortunately, this did not come up in the cross-examination at the court this morning, although the CCTV footage showed the images of all members of the group.
I have; therefore, this afternoon instructed our lawyers to contact the police and CPS to ask them to identify the other 2 or 3 individuals concerned and demand they are persecuted. My fear is that if they go free this time, they will attack others. They are violent individuals that must be brought to justice and punished for their action so they do not attack others again.
The message I want us to send loud and clear is that if any PFDJ thug attacks any Eritrean, we will be on the side of the victim and bring the attackers to justice – no matter the cost. Our people have already suffered enough. These attackers are bloodsuckers – if they are so passionate about Eritrea, why are they here?
Attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. We will fight injustice with justice because as patriotic Eritreans we do not believe in attacking our fellow citizens.
Enough is enough.
Chair of Assenna Foundation Ltd
18 February 2020