Ethiopian journalist faces life in prison
June 29, 2012
An Ethiopian journalist and blogger faces life imprisonment after being convicted of terrorism charges at the Lideta Federal High Court in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, yesterday.
Eskinder Nega was arrested in September 2011 for publishing articles online about the Arab Spring and questioning the Ethiopian government’s use of anti-terrorism laws.
US news service Bloomberg reported that Judge Endeshaw Adane said Nega and five other journalists, who were tried in absentia, had used ‘the guise of freedom’ to ‘attempt to incite violence and overthrow the constitutional order’.
According to Bloomberg the journalists were accused of having links to a US-based opposition group, Ginot 7, an organisation labelled ‘terrorist’ by the government.
Nega is the latest journalist to be tried under what human rights groups describe as ‘draconian’ anti-terror legislation introduced in 2009 by the Ethiopian government. Activists fear the law is being used to stifle legitimate political dissent and have reported that more than 150 people have been arrested using the legislation in the last year including journalists, politicians and students.