News / Africa

Ethiopia Drops One Charge in Muslim Case

The Ethiopian High Federal Court has dropped one charge in the terror case against 29 Muslims.  Terrorism charges were not dropped, although defense lawyers had argued those charges are unconstitutional.

The 29 Muslims who were arrested in July on terrorism charges and accused of trying to overthrow the government appeared in court.  Their defense lawyer Tamam Ababulga says the charge of attempting to destroy the government and creating a Muslim state was dropped.

“Charges dropped, because the element that constitutes the two charges are the same.  Therefore, they may end up in double jeopardy," Ababulga said. "This is very significant because, if the case is continued in such a way, it may double the punishment.”

The charge of being involved in terrorism activities was not dropped.  The accused include prominent members of the Muslim community and activists.  They were charged under Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism proclamation that was implemented in 2009.

This proclamation has been widely criticized by international human-rights organizations that say that it is used to silence dissident voices.  Several opposition leaders, journalists and activists have been imprisoned under the proclamation.

The defense team for the 29 Muslims argued in court that the proclamation is unconstitutional.  Ababulga says the judges of the Federal High Court did not directly respond to his claim.

“The court simply evaded the main point of our argument and they say there is nothing there unconstitutional.  But they say in 90 days you can bring it to the House of Federation by yourself," said Ababulga. "But they simply evade the very essence of our argument."

There has been tension between the Ethiopian government and members of the minority Muslim community since the beginning of the year.  Some felt government was interfering in religious practices by promoting a different kind of Islamic thought.  This led to weekly demonstrations and reached a head in July when the 29 Muslims were arrested during an overnight meeting.

All the accused pleaded not guilty in court on Monday.  The trial will start in January when prosecutors present their witnesses.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: A concerned Muslim from: Ethiopia
December 18, 2012 11:07 PM
Its such a shame and disaster for the Ethiopian government(my government) if they charge these people guilty in any way.

My advice: "Be Smart EPRDF(ruling party). Think about changing your policy."

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid