Ethiopia – A court in Bahirdar, Northern Ethiopia, has sentenced Bereket Simon to six years in prison for corruption. Simon is the country’s former Communications Minister and close ally of late Prime Minister Meles Zenawe.
Simon was arrested in January 2019 at his residence in the capital, Addis Ababa, and taken to Bahindar, capital of the Amhara region – the second largest of Ethiopia’s nine states.
He has been detained since. On Tuesday, Simon was found guilty, however, some of his supporters said the charges were politically motivated.
Simon was a powerful figure in Zenawe’s administration and was often described as the chief ideologue of the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
The coalition consisted of the Amhara Democratic Party, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the Oromo Democratic Party and the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement.
The EPRDF has since been re-branded and the restructured as the Prosperity Party under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed- and no longer includes the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).