News / Africa

Ethiopian Journalist Fights Terrorism Charges in Court

Ethiopian blogger Eskinder Nega during a press conference televised on ETV (Ethiopian television), Sept. 19, 2011.
Ethiopian blogger Eskinder Nega during a press conference televised on ETV (Ethiopian television), Sept. 19, 2011.
Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega appeared in court on Wednesday as the prosecution had to re-explain the charges against the prominent blogger.  Eskinder also got the chance to defend himself before the court.
 
Eskinder made his court appearance with opposition leader Andualem Arage and two other opposition members.  They are all imprisoned on terrorism charges as they were found guilty earlier this year of having links with the outlawed group Ginbot 7 and trying to start Arab Spring-type demonstrations in Ethiopia.

The blogger was sentenced to 18 years in prison and Andualem was given a life sentence.
 
Eskinder Nega defended himself while lawyer Abebe Guta defended the others as they tried to appeal their sentences on Wednesday. Abebe said the prosecution was asked to justify the terrorist charges to the Federal Supreme Court after Eskinder and the others appealed their sentences last month.

"They tried to justify the former prosecution that they presented to the High Court.  They said that these people have connection with Ginbot 7 terrorist organization in Eritrea and these terror acts is sponsored terrorism," Abebe explained,  "which means it is supported by the Eritrean government and because they are clandestine and because their membership is not official.  So in that case, if it is not official, if is clandestine, how do you discover that they have connection and link with the state sponsored terrorism of Eritrea and terrorist organization?”
 
Eskinder, Andualem and the others were all sentenced last summer under the anti-terrorism law.  Abebe said the latest developments at the Federal Supreme Court give him hope:

“The lower court didn’t consider our defense.  The lower court didn’t base its decision on the law and the facts in unity," he noted.  "It took only one side of argument of the prosecution.  And we are happy that when the court evaluates deep into the fact and the law, maybe it can pass decision in favor of our clients.  It can set them free, it can reduce their punishment.  And it can also reprimand to the higher court for review.”
 
Ethiopia is among the top 10 countries with the most imprisoned journalists, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
 
Government spokesman Shimelis Kemal denied the allegations as false:

“You can not name a single journalist who has been brought to a court and who has been convicted therefore on account on a statement that he has written," he said.  "We have some people who happen to be serving as journalist in some newspaper.  It is true they have been prosecuted for matters that has nothing to with their journalistic activity.”
 
Eskinder, Andualem and the two other opposition members will appear in court again in January as they continue their appeal.  The judges of the Federal Supreme Court will then outline how the case will continue.

YouTube video: Eskinder Nega's Pen 2012 Freedom to Write award

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Azeb from: USA
December 19, 2012 4:50 PM
It is plain sad and incomprehensible why a government would go out of its way to put Eskinder through such pain for criticizing it. You should read what the late Prime Minister gets away with - I am talking the kind of language he used. I think citizens should have at least equal rights with their leaders. Another sad incident is an attempt by government blogger to link Eskinder to Nazi Germany and the holocaust!
In Response

by: Behailu Aga from: Norway
December 21, 2012 6:09 AM
Nowhere in the world journalist gave birth in jail, while her husband is in the other cell of the prison. This happened in Ethiopia to the couples Eskindir and Serkalem. Ofcourse, freedom is not free. Eskindir and his family are paying the price for freedom and continue to inspire other Ethiopians.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs