Reactions to Teddy Afro’s sentence
A day after the six year sentence on Teddy Afro, reactions are coming from various corners.There is bitterness among the general public the sentence was unfair as the evidence presented by the court wasn’t sufficient to prove Teddy’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” and Teddy is simply paying the price for defiance than the alleged crime. Meanwhile, others who sympathize with the regime seem satisfied with the sentence. In some online discussions, their overwhelming arguments seem to be no one is above the law and Teddy should get the term that the law requires. Teddy Afro’s lawyer Amha Bedlu said he was profoundly disappointed by the verdict and indicated there are plans to appeal. “Justice was not served; Teddy is innocent of all charges. We will appeal the ruling.” He told Ethio-Channel, an Amharic weekly.
Another lawyer who followed the case closely said that, “We expected some better evidence, something more convincing-but it wasn’t there.”
Owner of Nahom records, Elyas Fikru said that he was on the road when he heard the verdict and it was an emotional moment that sent him into cry. “It was us who distributed Teddy Afro’s music all over the world. We had a close friendship. He is a wonderful person. I admire him hugely. Putting him in prison cell for six years at this productive age is heart wrenching. Nahom Records like to express its deepest feelings to Teddy and his families and promise to be there whenever we were required too.”
Tamrat Desta, an Amharic vocalist told Ethio-Channel that he was ‘really, really’ sad.” It is always depressing to hear about any person’s prison term, let alone a sensitive and susceptible artist like Teddy. But since Teddy is a strong-spirited person and someone with a personal faith, this I believe would make him more strong and creative. He won’t fall into grief and hopelessness.”
Prof. Alemayehu G.Maraim told Ethiomedia that he was not surprised to hear Teddy was ‘convicted’ in Meles Zenawi’s kangaroo court. “I predicted long ago that he would be “convicted.” Logically, Zenawi had no choice but to convict him. After all, Teddy is the ultimate musical symbol of Ethiopian unity. His songs foster Ethiopian unity and reconciliation. His music was a bridge — an arch — across ethnic and religious lines.
In Zenawi’s Bantustan, that is sacrilege as you know. Zenawi had to jail Teddy because he wants to send a message to other Ethiopian artists who may dare to criticize his dictatorship; and if they do, he will use his make-believe court to brutalize them as well.
The fact of the matter is that Teddy may be in jail but his music and his spirit are free. Teddy is with us every moment. We listen to his music when we are happy or sad, when we are down and when we are up. He sings for us everyday in our cars, homes and offices. Teddy’s spirit is with us all. Let us celebrate this young hero. Let us honor him by continuing his work and supporting his cause: Ethiopian unity and reconciliation. I will honor him by doing just that.”