A court in Ethiopia has dropped six charges against prominent former media mogul Jawar Mohammed related to the possession of illegal firearms.
He was detained, along with several other people, last July following the ethnic unrest that swept the country after the killing of prominent ethnic Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa.
Bekele Gerba and Dejene Tafa, both from the Oromo Federalist Congress party, are among leading opposition figures charged alongside Mr Jawar.
Judges said the charges being dropped did not fall under the country’s law that prohibits possession of illegal firearms.
However, the group still have to defend themselves against four other charges, including terrorism and telecom fraud.
Mr Jawar told the court that their trial was politically motivated and intended to bar him from running for office in the next election expected to be held in June.
He has faced terrorism charges before – when living in exile in the US.
This was related to his work with the Oromia Media Network (OMN), which he used to run, but the charges were dropped when reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in April 2018.
The two were once allies, but on his return home, he began criticising Mr Abiy for not having done enough to address the long-felt grievances of the Oromo people, which they both belong to.