Ethiopia Puts Journalists, Bloggers on Trial for 'Terrorism'

Washington

In response to Ethiopia's High Court briefly opening the terrorism trial of bloggers from the Zone 9 website and other journalists, Freedom House issued the following statement:

"Ethiopia's government should never have charged the bloggers and journalists with any crime and certainly not terrorism, since journalism and advocating freedom of speech are certainly not crimes,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. "These court proceedings have clear, serious irregularities, beginning with the defendants being held for months without charge and their allegations of being tortured and forced to sign false confessions. The proceedings are also far from transparent, since the court did not allow the defendants’ families to attend.”

“Ethiopia’s courts have a record of convicting ‘terrorism’ defendants based on questionable evidence, and we have serious concern that the pattern is about to be repeated,” Kramer said. “The nations and international institutions that aid Ethiopia should press the government to drop these spurious charges, release the defendants without delay and fulfill its legal commitments to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom of the Press 2014, and Freedom on the Net 2013.

To learn more, visit:
Ethiopian Court Should Reject “Terrorism” Charges against Journalists
Ethiopia Should Release Bloggers, Journalists from Custody
Freedom in the World 2014: Ethiopia
Freedom of the Press 2014: Ethiopia
Freedom on the Net 2013: Ethiopia

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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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