Neighbors say couple in “eye stabling case” had model relationship

On November 29th two neighbors of eye stabbing suspect Fisseha portrayed a different version of the relationship between him and the victim Aberash at the Federal High Court Lideta Division third criminal bench.

Almaz Guticha a neighbor who knew the victim by the nickname ‘Abi’as her ex-husband calls her, said her house is opposite to that of the victim, separated by a paved road. She talked about interacting with both of them at least three times a year over a thirteen year period at community events. She described them as a loving couple with “pet names,” for each other. She never realized there was a problem until this occurred.

Yonas Abera concurred saying that when the estranged couple moved into the neighborhood nine years ago their relationship made other people jealous. He described a pair that was affectionate, never argued and was active in the community; participating in social outings and “idirs”.

He said Fisseha would meet Aberash at the airport regularly when she finished her shifts as a stewardess for Ethiopian Airlines. Yonas described a person who would ignore his friends and focus all his attention on Aberash.

Around six month ago in May 2011, Yonas reported witnessing a change in Fisseha’s emotional state. Fisseha told Yonas that Aberash wanted a divorce. Fisseha reported to Yonas that the two had been quarreling but that he could not see himself separating from his wife.  Still Aberash insisted on the break up. Despite this the two did continue to meet after they were separated and Fisseha reported that he still loved her and hoped to reconcile.

Yonas said he would have been able to hear the pair fighting because their houses were only 20 meters apart, although they are separated by a road. He said he saw no sign of distress or unpleasant emotions when the victim used to come to Fisseha’s home after they were separated. He said he didn’t have any prior knowledge of their current problem.

There was confusion after the trial was moved to a smaller location, the suspect was early and the judges were late. Scuffles took place between police and people attempting to get a seat to hear the case. By the time it started the small packed room became almost unbearably hot.

The defense had planned to present four witnesses but only two appeared. Fisseha spoke out to the court, saying that his friends are being harassed and ostracized. One judge told him to let his lawyers speak on his behalf.

The courtroom was filled with deafening silence as the three judges deliberated. The court then decided to adjourn the case until Wednesday, December 7.  At that time the 10th defense witness will testify and a medical report from Hia Hulet will be presented to the court.

Fisseha is charged with aggravated attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm.