News / Africa

Ethiopian Convictions Raise Concern in Washington

The defense lawyer for 24 people found guilty of terrorism in Ethiopia, Abebe Guta, talks to reporters on June 27, 2012 after a court in Addis Ababa found his clients guilty on charges of terrorism. The defense lawyer for 24 people found guilty of terrorism in Ethiopia, Abebe Guta, talks to reporters on June 27, 2012 after a court in Addis Ababa found his clients guilty on charges of terrorism.
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The defense lawyer for 24 people found guilty of terrorism in Ethiopia, Abebe Guta, talks to reporters on June 27, 2012 after a court in Addis Ababa found his clients guilty on charges of terrorism.
The defense lawyer for 24 people found guilty of terrorism in Ethiopia, Abebe Guta, talks to reporters on June 27, 2012 after a court in Addis Ababa found his clients guilty on charges of terrorism.
VOA News
The United States says it is "deeply concerned" about the Ethiopian government's conviction of 24 people, including several journalists and opposition members, on terrorism related charges.

Journalist Eskinder Nega and opposition member Andualem Arage were among those found guilty Wednesday of charges including the encouragement of terrorism and high treason.

The men, 16 of whom were convicted in absentia, could face life in prison under Ethiopia's harsh anti-terror legislation. But prosecutors on Wednesday suggested jail terms of five years to life when they are sentenced next month.

State Department Victoria Nuland says such convictions raise "serious questions" about the intent of Ethiopia's anti-terror laws, which critics say are used to stifle dissent.

Rights group Amnesty International also condemned the conviction, saying the men were found guilty on "trumped up" charges." The group says freedom of expression is being "systematically destroyed by a government targeting any dissenting voice."

The defendants were accused of having ties to an outlawed political party called Ginbot Seven, which the government has labelled a terrorist group. Some were also accused of trying to incite unrest by writing about the anti-government protests that swept North Africa last year.

Ethiopia's government denies using anti-terror laws passed in 2009 to clamp down on opposition figures and journalists, saying their arrests have nothing to do with their reporting or political affiliations.

Rights groups say more than 150 opposition politicians and supporters have been detained since last year on terrorism-related charges.

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by: tazabiw from: us
June 29, 2012 2:29 AM
The govt is paranoid, simply stated.


by: Ayele from: Vancouver
June 28, 2012 6:17 PM
It appears to me that the world has stopped being bothered by human rights abuses. If that was not the case, Meles has done them all, killing an armed protesters by the hundreds, imprisoning respected opposition politicians (who defeated him in the ballot box), stuffing ballots, you name it...In stead, this killer is being invited to sit with respected western leaders. Please understand, of the countless miscarriages of justice he commits, Ethiopians are sickened by this joke of inviting him to reputable meetings. He should be invited to the court in Hague and no where else!


by: Zemen from: Vancouver
June 28, 2012 12:56 PM
Meles, the Ethiopian Prime Minster, is a yes man to US. To return this favor the US is willing to pass his murderous reign, often by keeping quite and when things really get from bad to worse by saying that they are concerned. They would love their yes man dictator to say in power for as long as possible saying yes sir. Who cares for the 85 Million Ethiopians that have to live under his terror.


by: John from: Sleepless in Seattle
June 28, 2012 9:13 AM
US is "concerned" = We don't like it but we will look the other way, just like how we have looked the other when dictator Meles Zenawi conducted genocides in the Ogaden and Gambella, invasions of neighboring states (Somalia and Eritrea) and the shocking human rights abuses against its own citizens, including the killings of 193 unarmed Ethiopian civilians in the capital and the massacres of over 400 Anuaks in Gambella.

When will the United States condemn the Ethiopian tyrant? Is this tyrant above US values and history that the great US forefathers envisioned? How can a one-man-regime who's been in power for over 21 years not be condemned for his numerous human rights violations? Is it because this ruthless and vicious dictator is a US puppet? When will you side with the 500,000 Americans of Ethiopian origin and Ethiopian-Americans by condemning this tyrant? For christ sake, I am ashamed to say I am a US citizen. Disgusted!!

In Response

by: michael from: south africa
June 30, 2012 5:26 AM
First and for most speak for your self we the people of Ethiopia don't need any outsider to tell us how to run our own country, and please don't make comment like ur country is so holly your country is one of the reasons why Africa is like this. US is a great country but they are also a country that classified South Africa's ANC as a terrorist organization, bombed Japan with atomic bomb and supported Egypt's Mubarak for years and many more, at the moment even though he is not the best but i believe Melese is the right leader for my country.

In Response

by: Human-R8s-Defender from: U.S.
June 29, 2012 3:11 PM
Mulugeta,

There’re a couple things that you need to be aware of – for sure:

a) just because you can join words, that doesn't mean your statement makes sense. “….be ashamed of yourself more than being a US citizen…” what the hell does that mean?!?!?!?

b) Did you say "almighty US" can do anything?!?! ...really?!?! if the U.S. congress is aware of what’s going on and care enough to take action, ..... all they need to do is - STOP THE ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES FLIGHT FROM WASHINGTON and stop the BILLION DOLLAR PER YEAR aid money. Then, I'll give Meleses regime a month (if not less) max - to stay in power.

You're acting too tough knowing (or not) that over 90% of your government annual budget - including your salary (as agent) -comes from foreign aid. Someday, if U.S. turns its face on your regime, your demise is quick and inevitable.

Once a Repressive Regime, always a Repressive Regime. so, ... join us - DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHT DEFENDER - and be on the right side of history!!

In Response

by: Alem
June 28, 2012 8:53 PM
Mulugeta: Are you still at the consulate? You are right Ethiopia is a sovereign state. But it is ruled by a tyrant. And tyrants should not be allowed to hide behind sovereignty!

In Response

by: Mulugeta
June 28, 2012 11:59 AM
John, you better be ashamed of yourself more than being a US citizen.
Is there any one who ever condemned the human rights violations of the US government either based on religion or colour?
Are you trying to say the "almighty" US can do any thing it wants agains a sovereign country? No more!!!
If you think you are big because you are a US citizen, shame on you.

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