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

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.