Veteran Journalist sentenced to one year imprisonment By Eskinder Nega (Addis Ababa)

January 29th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

Judge Mohammed Omar of the tenth bench of the Federal High Court today sentenced Ezeden Mohammed, editor and publisher of of Ethiopia’s largest Islamic weekly,Hekima, to one year imprisonment. (more…)

Judge Mohammed Omar of the tenth bench of the Federal High Court today sentenced Ezeden Mohammed, editor and publisher of of Ethiopia’s largest Islamic weekly,Hekima, to one year imprisonment.

The court convicted Ezeden Mohammed, whose fourteen year span as an independent journalist is rare after the clampdown in 2005, for incitement in connection with a 2005 Guardian newspaper interview with PM Meles Zenawi.

Ezeden has been imprisoned since Monday morning until the judge considered the plea for monetary fine by the convicted journalist, and the stringent demand of the public prosecutor for the maximum prison sentence under Ethiopia’s old press less, which was recently replaced by a much harsher new law.

Ezeden now joins two other journalists,Ismael Mohamed, editor of Ethiopia’s other Islamic newspaper, and Asrat Wedajo, editor of Ethiopia’s once largest Oromo-centric newspaper,Seife Nebelbal, which was shut down by the government in 2005.

This sentencing comes after editors of Ethiopia’s popular post 2005 political newspaper, Addis Neger, hastily fled the country after being informed by sources of the government’s intent to try them under the much feared anti-terrorist law. The Supreme Court is also expected to pass final ruling on Friday with regards to a government plea to collect hefty fines imposed against four publishing houses in the
infamous treason trial of 2005.

Four years after the clampdown against thirteen independent political newspapers in 2005, not one amongst them has been allowed to resume publication to date. The Ethiopian government still continues to deny press licensees to Ethiopia’s independent journalists despite the near paralysis of the private media few months short of the national
elections.

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