News / Africa

10 Sentenced in Ethiopian al-Qaida Case

Map of EthiopiaMap of Ethiopia
Map of Ethiopia
Map of Ethiopia
An Ethiopian court has convicted ten people of having links to al-Qaida, but did not issue life sentences as the prosecution requested.  The accused say they will appeal.

Prison sentences ranging from three to 20 years were handed to nine Ethiopians and one Kenyan on Tuesday after they were found guilty of having links with the terrorist organization al-Qaida.  One Ethiopian was set free.

Lawyer Temam Ababulga defended one of the Ethiopians who was convicted on charges of terrorism recruiting.  He says his client, like all the others convicted, will appeal the sentence.

“As to my client, because the sentence that is given to my client is not legal and based on the evidence," said the lawyer.  "Why the person that my client is said to be recruiting is set free, there is no evidence and legality under which the court can make my client guilty.”

Along with the al-Qaida charges, the ten were convicted for other charges such as recruitment, laundering money and leading terrorism cells.  The death penalty can be given in Ethiopia for terrorism crimes but prosecutors requested life sentences.

The judge said the court did not hand out life sentences because of mitigating circumstances, such as the fact that none of the convicted had previous crime records.

Lawyer Temam believes the convicted were arrested for other reasons.

“I think in this particular case, somebody is trying to persuade somebody that there is a danger of terrorism in this country which I don’t think so.  There is no proper evidence to persuade me to think in such a way in this particular case,” he said.

The Ethiopians and the Kenyan were arrested in April 2012 and charged under Ethiopia's strong anti-terrorism law.  International human rights organizations frequently criticize the law, saying the Ethiopian government is using it to silence dissident voices.

All the convicted will appeal their sentences in two weeks at the Federal Supreme Court. 

This was the first trial in Ethiopia where people were suspected of having links with al-Qaida. But Ethiopian security forces arrested 15 people earlier this month for allegedly having links with al-Qaida and Somali militant group al-Shabab.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
January 15, 2013 4:35 PM
Here's a correction for you guys: Prison sentences ranging from three to 20 years were handed to nine Ethiopians and one Kenyan on Tuesday after they were ALLEGEDLY found guilty of having links with the terrorist organization al-Qaida. One Ethiopian was set free.

by: Bonaya Bonso from: Kenya
January 15, 2013 3:47 PM
I am surprised no one including Marthe Van Der Wolf is reporting the names of the ten people. We are not even told whether they are men or women. Are the people nameless? Did the judge rule the names of the convicts may not be published? Or is this just a case of crappy journalism?

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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs