Listen to music while browsing

Ethiopia: Death penalty for blogger, prison for journalists

By Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

NEW YORK, January 27, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A U.S.-based journalist convicted on politicized terrorism charges in Ethiopia was sentenced to death in absentia today, while two other Ethiopian journalists received heavy prison sentences in connection with their coverage of banned opposition groups, according to news reports.

Elias Kifle, exiled Ethiopian editor of the Washington-based opposition website Ethiopian Review, was handed a death sentence in absentia today, which followed a 2007 life sentence given to him also in absentia on charges of treason for his coverage of the government's brutal repression of 2005 post-election protests, CPJ research shows. A court in the capital, Addis Ababa, sentenced Reeyot Alemu, a columnist with the independent weekly Feteh , and Woubshet Taye, deputy editor of the now-defunct weekly Awramba Times, to 14 years in prison and 33,000 birrs (US$1,500), news reports said.

"The death penalty for Elias Kifle and the prison sentences for Reeyot Alemu and Woubshet Taye are based on their writings about political dissent. This verdict has little to do with justice," said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. "We condemn this politicized prosecution designed to cow critical voices into silence and call on the Supreme Court to reverse all the convictions."

The three journalists were charged in September with lending support to an underground network of banned opposition groups, which has been criminalized under the country's 2009 antiterrorism law. Alemu and Taye were arrested in June and held for weeks on government accusations of plotting to sabotage telephone and electricity lines before they were charged. In the trial, government prosecutors presented as evidence intercepted emails and phone calls between the journalists, as well as more than 25 Ethiopian Review articles on the activities of opposition groups, CPJ research shows.

Eskinder Nega, another Ethiopian blogger, has been imprisoned since September and could be sentenced to death if convicted of similar politicized terrorism charges in connection with his coverage of banned opposition groups.

Kifle is the first journalist to be handed a death sentence in Ethiopia, according to CPJ research. Since 1992, only two people have been executed after being given the death penalty, while other death sentences have been commuted to life in prison, according to an Ethiopian legal expert.

It is not a work if u Love what u are doing, It is a job
By: maame ama

Guinea opposition urges protests ov

People assist a protester injured during clashes with police at an anti-government protest in Conakry on April 20, 2015.  By Cellou Binani (AFP/File) Thursday, April 23, 2015

Conakry (AFP) - Guinea's opposition called for protests across the country again ...
read more »

Ebola-hit countries call for $8 bn

Members of the Kagome family carry supplies delivered by the UN's World Food Program in the Dwarzac neighbourhood of Freetown, November 7, 2014.  By Francisco Leong (AFP/File) Friday, April 17, 2015

Washington (AFP) - The three West African countries hit hardest by the Ebola epi ...
read more »

Ebola-hit Sierra Leone goes back to

UNICEF says it is working with Sierra Leone's government to ensure children are safe, by training 9,000 teachers on Ebola prevention, including hand-washing and regular temperature checks.  By Desirey Minkoh (AFP/File) Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Freetown (AFP) - Sierra Leone's 1.8 million children prepared on Tuesday to retu ...
read more »

Mediterranean migrant deaths soar '

Rescued migrants off the Libyan coast arrive at the harbor in Catania, Italy, on April 20, 2015.  By Alberto Pizzoli (AFP/File) Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Geneva (AFP) - Some 1,750 migrants have perished in the Mediterranean since the ...
read more »