Woyanne kangaroo court throws Ethiopian scientist in jail

A world-renowned Ethiopian scientist Admasu Gebre, who has invented a Vehicle Guidance System (VGS), was sent to prison for 2 years this week in Ethiopia after a court found him guilty of copyrights violations, according to a report by Addis Fortune. How could some one who is involved in developing a space age technology be thrown in jail like a common criminal for such a minor offense, even if he is really guilty? The case is suspicious, to say the least. Could it be that the scientist refused to make Azeb Mesfin or one of the Woyanne officials a partner in his high-tech business that has a potential to make tones of money? Who is the plaintiff, Bruck Mekbib? Any connection or business relations with Woyanne officials? There is a report, yet to be confirmed, that he ties with associates of Tagay Gebremedhin. On top of the VGS, Admasu Gebre, a retired commander of the former Ethiopian Navy, has been constructing a lamp manufacturing plant in Kality, a suburb of Addis Ababa, that produces solar-powered lamps. Ethiopians like Commander Admasu are national treasures who need to be supported and encouraged, not be thrown in jail for minor infractions, if indeed there is an infraction of the law on his part.

The following is Addis Fortune’s report:

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Admasu Gebre, who is credited for the innovation of a vehicle guidance system (VGS), was sentenced to serve two and a half years of imprisonment after he was found guilty of copyright violations over an Amharic film.

Admasu, 70, on behalf of his company, Navcom Energy Plc, signed an agreement in the United States (US) with Bruke Films Plc to produce a film titled “Menteyochu” or “The Twins”, on July 2006, with a budget of 800,000 Br. Navcom Energy Plc would finance the film while the profits were to be shared at a ratio of 45pc to 55pc, the former to be paid to Bruke, they agreed.

However, Admasu was charged by federal prosecutors along with Alula Amdemichael (a cameraman) at the Federal High Court on December 4, 2008. They were accused of bringing the movie to the country after completion without the knowledge of Bruke Mekbib, the producer and director of the film, and for changing the original title to “Le Abatewa,” literally translated “For Her Father”.

They screened the film on its inaugural at Sebastopol Cinema and for the public at Cinema Empire twice in a day in June 2008, according to the charges. The defendants transgressed the economic rights of the producer, violating copyright laws, the prosecutor alleged.

The charge against the second defendant was dropped as he was not apprehended, while Admasu presented documentary evidence denying all of the charges instituted against him. However, the court found the defendant guilty on Wednesday, August 25, 2010, stating that the evidence presented by the defendant actually proves the prosecutor’s case.

On the same day, the court heard mitigating and aggravating circumstances for sentencing. The crime, was committed for personal gain and with the participation of others, which should be taken as aggravating circumstances, argued the prosecutor.

The defence lawyer raised the defendant’s nationality (Dutch), age, health condition (arthritis), lack of a previous criminal record, and his being the head of a family to be taken as mitigating circumstances. The defence lawyer requested the court to substitute the prison sentence for a fine or to suspend the sentence.

The court adjourned the case for two more days for sentencing and ordered Admasu, who was out on bail during the trial, to be escorted to the Addis Abeba Prison Centre.

The long legal battle, which was presided over by four different judges and several prosecutors, was finally concluded on Friday, August 27, 2010.

The judge sentenced Admasu to serve two years and six months at the Addis Abeba Prison Centre, taking into consideration the mitigating grounds raised by the defendant.

“We will appeal,” the defence lawyer told his client who was standing in the defendant’s box and wearing a blue suit, right after the court sentencing.

“This is not just my victory,” Bruke told Fortune. “Your social status does not matter. The justice system works for all.”

Bruke Films Plc is planning to file a civil suit against Admasu and his company to recover the expenses that it incurred during production, the earnings that it lost from the film, and other economic and moral losses, according to Bruke.

Bruke also intends to file criminal and civil suits against Workman Nydegger (a law firm), James B. Belshe (a lawyer), David L. Smith (the editor of the film), and Alula, for allegedly conspiring to take the film without his knowledge.

Admasu, who was awarded a European patent in 1992 for his invention of a vehicle guidance system, was brought to the prison in a bus by prison officers along with several other detainees after sentencing. His innovation, which is installed in vehicles, is used as a dependable means of guiding a vehicle from one point to another as desired by the operator.

54 thoughts on “Woyanne kangaroo court throws Ethiopian scientist in jail

  1. dfabachew on

    Who is bruke??????Is it the guy who used to live in LA which we call The PROUD HOMELESS. This boy has relatives who work for woy-ane. At one time ho went to Ethiopia and charging money from Ethiopian girls that he could find them a modeling job in the US. We see him in ferfax area claiming that he is movie director. This man didn’t have a place to live for himself. he swindled out of the pockets of those young Ethiopian girls. What mekes it very serious is that that was the time when wey-ane throw out majority of the workers and replace it with illiterate tegadalites.

  2. Misrak on

    In my view, a criminal is one who violated the rules of the nation. If it is found to be that this gentleman violated the law and benefited from other people’s labor, knowledge and service without paying for them, he then deserves whatever the book says. If it is jail time so be it. Don’t try to find excuse for people who developed the VGS system (even if true). I am sure if this guy was a Woyane minority government defender you would not have had any sympathy. Lets not be like Woyane supporters who support actions against people or would like to see people thrown in jail because of their status, connections or views.

  3. Jagama Balcha in Las Vegas on

    Why are the woyannes throwing non-Tigre successful people in jail? I think it is because they can use their talents to over throw this dictator regime. These corrupt judges must be brought to justice along with their minions.
    You may have a mask that makes you look nice, but under that mask is an evil face that is against all Ethiopians that are not Tigre. THE WOYANNES WILL FACE JUSTICE SOMEDAY!!!!!!! LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. i am even afraid to visit my country !
    why always prison in ethiopia?
    why they dont let him pay money instead?

  5. tezibt on

    That is how Clinton got away. O.J. Simpson also benefited from his social standing. I find myself doing the same erroneous mistake that when an elite is charged with a crime, I feel sorry forhim. Elias, do not defend the indefensible. I know you wouldn’t do it purposely.

  6. konjit on

    Only hodams like Samuel Tafesse and traitors like Hailu Shawel can survive in Ethiopia. Woyanne will find some reason to throw in jail or bankrupt honest individuals like this scientist. I doubt he is guilty of any thing, but even if he is, why not just ask him to pay fine?

  7. Simply put Ato Admasu is not wanted by Woyane for some reason. Perhaps he was identified as ‘rent seeker’ or ‘Neftegna’. Meles Zenawi has started a new wave of cleansing true Ethiopians from the bussiness world all in all. Successful bussinessmen, scholars, artists, and other popular men are his target in the coming five years. Meles’ apartheid system has become full-fledged now. He has grown bolder and ruthless by the day. It is high time that something is done.

  8. koster on

    His crime is a non-Tigrian and genious and according to woyane he should sooner or later be eliminated and who knows the injection he took while in prison.

    He is a real asset to the country and if Ethiopia had an Ethiopian Government this man should have been considered as a national treasure.

  9. A, Mamo on

    I know Bruke. We grew up in Aware together. Our dreams were to be filmmakers. Bruke has done a great job so far by following his dreams consequently and by directing various projects like Teddy Afros album DVD Lambadina. Now, a successful guy like Admasu has cheated him for a film project which wasn’t so expensive for a rich guy like him. A guy who has legally succeeded to secure a patent for his own invention should have known the consequences of trespassing the legal rights of others.

    I don’t understand why you people always try to link things with political situations. Admasu was sure he could get away with this fraud because he is rich. Isn’t this a lesson for all those crooked millionaires in Ethiopia who are still living the untouchable-corrupt-life?

  10. Siyoum on

    It is a shame to call this guy a scientist. Being a scientist is not a license to rob others. 70 years old azawint like him must be an idol for the rest of us. He should have created an establishment where he could teach and pass on his knowledge to the new generation. Instead, he ended up acting like a gangster. If a successful guy like him cheats on poor talents like that, just imagine how all those piranhas in Ethiopia became multimillionaires.

  11. Misrak, well said.

    I’ll never understand why Elias wants usto believe he’s fighting for justice while brings crap like this. Sometimes I don’t know why I open this website.

  12. Jegnaw Ethiopiawe on

    Woyane it dos not want Educated people around and they feel in apt in front of any one more ducated than they …hahaha.

  13. Mesganaw on

    This news is shocking!!!! How can we Ethiopians do this? The man should be re-warded not sent to prison. We don’t know if he actually committed the crime, but considering the fact how the Ethiopian law system works we need to be suspicious. The guy who took 40 million bir from poor farmers is walking freely in the west while a case of 80,000 birr is used to sent ex-marine to prison. There is two solution for all these problems.

    1) We Ethiopians need to identify woyane affiliates and punish them by refusing anything they produce or imported.

    2) We need to be united and fight the dictatorial regime.

  14. Alemu Kebede on

    This the time we all go back to built country but I am scared at any time I can be killed or jailed, even if I am ok to work but I don’t want to see or hear somebody jailed. it is too bad. I have been suffered in Derg Government being chosen not participating in Politics. So I just lost interest even to visit my own country. Pray for all Ethiopian who suffered in Jailed at this movement. God bless

  15. Getachew on

    Here we go again Ethiopian courts mixing tort cases into criminal ones. This is absolutely a civil or tort law case where he can only be charged for damages and can pay if found guilty. By no means can not serve jail term unless unable to pay the damage. What we can do, these paid thugs can not understand law as they are from Civil service college. I smell there is some sabotage here

  16. fekade on

    Well, I don’t see why Elie is complaining. It is very true that Admasu was innovative but that doesn’t give him the right to take the right of others.

    The thing that amazes me rather is the court, it seems that for the first time they give fair judgment. There could be millions of speculation but Adamsu is wrong very wrong.
    Just imagine what he will do if his patent of the navigation system was stolen and patented to Birk (for instance). What would you say Elie?

  17. woygud on

    Do you know something about the case that everybody else doesn’t know? Because, to start with, it is a fact that the court system is simply a tool for TPLF to punish and destroy anybody unwilling to submit to their will.
    With that said, you are probably just another woyane.
    The time for reckoning is near.

  18. Perplexed on

    What is the big deal? Only because he invented VGS, he can swindle people out of their hard earned money? Give me a break!

  19. Anonymous on

    Yes, dear Bruke, any person, despite his/her status, religion, identity..are equal in front of the justice and must get be accountable and punished for the crime she/he made.
    “This is not just my victory,” Burke told Fortune. “Your social status does not matter. The justice system works for all.”Bruke


  20. Ato Admassu Gebre is the second relatively better known Ethiopian to land in jail or prison this week under ridiculous circumstances and charges; the other Ethiopian is the prolific Orthodox Mezmur writer, በጋሻው ደሳለኝ, who, for the past many years, has been continiously persecuted.

  21. …so what ? a crime is a crime whether it is commited by a peasant or a scientist,and both are criminals and are equal in the eyes of the law.so what is the big deal….

  22. Lula @ aol.com on

    I share same feeling as #4. i use to vist Ethiopia every year, but now after hearing all this story i don’t even miss visiting , may be some day ET will be free from Woyanne we all start visiting & build, sharing our eduaction for now US is good for as.

  23. My God how far is woyanne self centered hodams are going to go? they are throwing all non tigiriyans sucessful people in prison.

  24. genfel on

    I am quite surprise how much blind and completely ignorant are the audience and editor of this website. You appear to advocate for the rule of law, but you turn out to defend those who are violating it. How on earth could you think so. Whether he is a scientists, or even Jesus, if they are committing crimes they have to get what they deserve in the rule of the land. Aren’t we standing to see a country where the rule of law is above every thing.

    If we hate the judge or the government, let stand in opposition of the wrong doings. If the devil is doing holy acts, we have to learn to welcome. Please come to the 21st century. Do not please think in the old times where all our society was not informed. Wake up, the people home way far advanced than those you claiming smart and educated.

  25. Anonymous on

    Hey guys wake up! In the report say even if he is realy guilty why they put him in the jail. I do not understand what this line talking about, we alwayes say in the curt every body equal if this true his education states or his money can not save him from go to the jail. If he is found guilty. we can talk this way, low does not apply in woyannes and woyanne supporters if they did the same crime? it is not apply.

  26. Shinabachew on

    Elias do you know this fact.

    Copy right and intellectual property is the new machine of stifling dissent/ the copying and distribution of opposition materials?
    You need to report this.Now most Amhara publishers like Fasil Muzika Bet,Wase Records and others are sent to prison because thousands of speeches of Dr.Berhanu Nega were found in their shops.

  27. Anonymous on


  28. Jegnaw Ethiopiawe on

    the rule of law yes….. but not the rule of WEYANE atrocity know the difference…..

  29. Zera Yacob on

    Genfel on comment 25, you are extremely “donkoro”, first of all, you put Jesus’ name in the wrong place and yet again, you tried to look smart while putting out a profane word against your creator, how can you understand law if you can’t understand what you say in the first place? Just put your diaper on and stay home, Elias, this is a civil case, if this guy is truly guilty, he should just pay the fine and all expenses and damages to the producer, if this is considered a criminal case, then all captains of multi-billion dollar companies should be in jail, last week Paul Alen of Microsoft sued major tech companies including Google, Apple and the likes for software copyright infrigment, so according to woyanne, the CEOs of these economic vehicles should be in jail, so stupid, One other thing Bruck said that actually incriminated him is that he praised the very justice system that put socially elite individuals like Birtukan and countless innocent citizens 2 rot in jail

  30. Ager Wodad on


    This dude, Biruck is indeed a woyane family. He is the a close relative of a very influential woyane ex-security official Major Alemseged who is now doing private security business. That’s the whole story.

  31. Anonymous on

    I am not surprised. Woyanes have been making a mockery of justice for the last twenty years. I have seen and heard enough not to expect justice, but injustice to come out from Woyane kangaroo court house. Woyanes are destroying Ethiopia and Ethiopians by all means of necessary: by locking up and killing the most qualified, experienced and educated Ethiopians–well known singers, performers, bankers, teachers, business men, journalists and scientist—-giving Ethiopian fertile land—looting Ethiopian money and natural resources, and etc. The Hitler of Ethiopia has been committing genocide before our eyes. Deeply disturbing!!

  32. First of all this case has nothing to do with politics and doesn’t serve any one except the govt of Ethiopia.If you think you are fighting the current govt back home you better think again, because you are helping to prolong the suffering of our people for long time to come.

  33. #27 your nickname is a little goofy for most of us. would you come out with better nickname for the next time?

  34. Anonymous on

    Hey #25, i love your comment,but #26 ,please before posting your comment, check your speling .You have to know the difference b/n (curt and court )and (law and low). Dedeb!!!

  35. Please contact the plaintif (Bruke Mekbib) and advise him to settle out of court or to do whatever it takes to help release Admasu Gebre, an inventor of GPS, Automatic payment devices and many more patents. Whatever the incident, and we do not know the whole truth, the defendant does not deserve to go to prison. Search for Bruke Mekbeb and it is evident that he is not an accomplished director. The movie, “Le Abatwa”, for all we know, might very well be a crap anyways. Like most aging expats, a likely nostalgic Gebre might have lured away from his California haven. He was not being wise when he undertook this movie venture, nontheless, he should not pay for it with 2.5 years in an Ethiopian prison. Both Gebre and Begashaw Desaleng, the person who writes all those beautiful Orthodox Mezmurs, are financially well off people, which makes them an easy target of unscroupulous goverment agents. Begashaw has been harrassed and arrested before. These are unrelated arrest that took place a few days apart. Is there a systemic move by the government to sack the best of the population.


    Addis Ababa

    Tel.: 011 551 1434

  36. Jambola on

    What is wrong with you guys? Does he has to betrayed or cheat because he is a scientist? What about Biruk , The one he is fighting his case since 2008? Let him be punished because of what Admasu accomplish? Come on let us be realistic. One of the guy from the top saying about how Biruk is or who he has in weyane member, but is it relevant? Even if he has someone or uses his relative, do you think the case takes him that long? We are sorry he is charged but he could settle before the court. For sure he thinks he could get away because he is a scientist. And again he better find some kinds of settlement before the civil suits.

  37. Weyanes or their stooges are supporting the jail of Admasu. Of course they are threatened by Ethiopians who think better for Ethiopia. Those who said if he did the crime he deserved it, unbelievable, to think that Ethiopia’s course is JUST makes you naive.

  38. tezibt on

    woygud says:
    Do you know something about the case that everybody else doesn’t know? Because, to start with, it is a fact that the court system is simply a tool for TPLF to punish and destroy anybody unwilling to submit to their will.
    With that said, you are probably just another woyane.
    The time for reckoning is near.

    To Weygud

    First of all, I just posted my opinion and didn’t have any thing to do with you but if you wanna start with me here we go; Why do you insult me calling me Woyane? Do you know me? The reason why you insulted me is because you may have been raised some where in Merkato to a mother who doesn’t know who fathered you. I have all the right to express my opinion. It is a known fact that people like your uncle who supposedly invented the navigation system(I know his case in Europe court and he even lost the case)at age 70 gets involved in such a pity. First of all he knows the copy right law more than anyone else because he has been in the courts as a result of copy right issue on his navigation ivention for a long time. This same person, no matter what his standing in society turns around and stiffs one of his own in Ethiopia. Unless you are doma ras you would never equate such a rascal to an Ethipian Hero. But since you yourself are a parasite in the institute of Parcology, You don’t disapprove such behavior. Go to school and learn the right ways.

  39. tezibt on

    Like WEYGUD some of you do not know how to express your opinion in a civil way. One can easily see that not only are you short in your english but in your thoughts also. I don’t know if posting trash will help you improve your english or your thoughts but surely it exposes your empty skull. People can have diverse opinions but naming people only becauSe they have different opinions should not be a case to attack or insult them.

  40. Zegenu on

    May be this guy did not agree to share the benefit with TPLF like samuel Tafese does. loot and share. TPLF members commit crime and they are awarded. Nothing happened to Eyasu Berhe, Sibhat Nega and Azeb when they looted Telecom. Meles even said they deserve praise. TPLF Tataqis go door to door and force Ethiopian business men to pay money nothing happens to them.

    But this guy is thrown to jail for 2 years for a minor offense. may be he is Amhara or Oromo.

  41. Zera Kidus on

    Zera Yacob #30, only “DONKOROS” can say to their fellow beings “donkoro”. I wish you knew how to spell “Alen” , oops, before you say “donkoro”. Out of the left field you seem to concoct two different countries, USA and Ethiopia, with two unique – however flawed – laws and regulations and make a judgment based on your twisted logic. This doesn’t even pass the smell test, my friend. So, you seem to lack the capacity to read and understand what someone is trying to convey. I want you to go back and re-read what #25 genfel was saying. His logic and reasoning are well versed. It’s beyond me how else can you come up to call him a name. If you can show such a hate to someone who happen to think differently than you want him to think, then God save us all from your kind of people. Grow up, be counted and try to be Zera-Senai.

  42. corrigendum on

    Hi Elias,

    I think Commander Admassu should be considered an inventor and not a scientist.

  43. Witness on

    Fact: I watched several scenes being filmed in Addis Ababa in 2007. Bruke was never on the film set. I saw Alula directing and shooting. I know Bruke for many years in Los Angeles. It is true he is the proud homeless. Always begging for a meal. Never had a job. Strolled up and down Fairfax Blvd in Los Angeles talking about how his Woyane family are ruling. Bruke is a joke. Bruke misrepresented himself to Admasu as a filmmaker. How he convinced Alula and David (both accomplished pros) to go to Ethiopia and work with him is strange. How that happened is a mystery to all of us that know Bruke well. Bruke was undergoing training during the making of the film. Both David Smith and Alula Andemicael are the ones who made the film. I saw the final film in Washington D.C in 2008 – amazing film. Very well made. I hope it gets released!

  44. tezibt on

    The saddest part of this story is that most of us are concerned about how Bruke is homeless and worthless and how the Commander is reputable and inventor etc… I am interested in learning how our society is looking at a court case. Was the commander ivolved in copy right law infringement? Should be the main question. Parallel to that we have to also ask did Bruke,if he is woyane or connected to woyane, used his connection to jail a reputable man who has not violated copy right law?
    If it is the later then this is a dangerous situation but if we are saying that the man is an inventor; therefore, should be forgiven or get a light sentence or compensate financially, then we are doomed as a society.
    On my last visit to addis, I was at an open bar having coffee. The afternoon traffic was really bad and we were sitting very close to the side walk when an aid to a truck driver spilled something that looks like water on a pretty girl in a small toyoya corolla right next to him. Since cars were moving slowly the truck wasn’t able to run away. The kind of person that I am, against my friends advice I run to the girl and asked her if she is ok. She said that what the guy poured on her smells like urine. I told her I am with you all the way, just block the truck and we call a police. She was one hell of a brave lady. She went infront of the truck and blocked not only the truck but all the traffic heading toward meskel square. The driver got out and threated to beat me up and her. We told him he will only make it worse on himself. The sad part was that no one of the people gathered around us were concerned about the injustice done to the girl. A cab driver was able to sneak the driver’s aid out and drove him. Every one was tell him the cops are coming disappear from the area. When the cops came the assailant was gone. We explained the situation to the cops. Cops told the driver that he will be in jail with his truck until the aid shows up. I had to leave the country but kept entouch with the lady and she told me that the truck owner had connection with authorities and they some how quashed the case.
    You can see how the public is against itself by supporting a truck owned by a crook and its drivers. Ethiopia is land of injustice. Don’t blame only weyane but also the mentality of the people. We tend to prtect criminals. Just look at the story above and see how the public and the authorities are screwed up. This may sound like a simple story but it goes to the anal of the Ethiopian conscience. What separates humans from animals is the fact that we have the capability to think critically and analyze thoughts intelligently. Morality and ethics are at the center of our lives. If we flock like animals just because we look alike or we have the same color or names, we are no better that them. God gave us brain and lets utilize it.

  45. Markos A on

    This is not a forum to demonstrate your ability of grammar and vocabulary. This is a place where you voice your opinion. As long as your message is delivered and readers understand what you want to say from the context of the discussion, it is good enough.

    By the way your spelling is not good either.

  46. Oh Elias on

    May God’s Blessing upon you Elias. I have no words to describe your greatness. Thank God, for giving a son like you to mother land Ethiopia. oh……….. Amen

  47. Oh Elias on

    Serieously dude? My comment passed your moderation. I was mocking you, you moron. What kind of a self obsessed litle man are you? How come you put a comment like that in your site. God you are full of crap.

  48. Jegnaw Ethiopiawe on

    if u walk like a duck,talk like a duck you must be duck.
    people can see through Ur comment what kind of message Ur sending it comes across who you are Ur woyane simple and be proud even though it is a false pried.so dont try convince us Ur not Woyane the more you try the more people see you as Woyane.

    out of the abandons of the heart the mouth speak. what you say it creates a picture about u.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.