Zenawi now second-worst jailer in Africa – AFP

February 2nd, 2010 Print Print Email Email

ADDIS ABABA — An Ethiopian journalist has been jailed for a year for criticising the prime minister, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) said Tuesday. (more…)

ADDIS ABABA — An Ethiopian journalist has been jailed for a year for criticising the prime minister, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) said Tuesday.

“An Ethiopian judge sentenced a journalist to prison on Friday in connection with a January 2008 column that criticized Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s statements about religious affairs in Ethiopia, according to local journalists,” the New York-based press rights watchdog said.

It identified the journalist as Ezedin Mohamed, editor of Al-Quds, which it described as a “Muslim-orientated newspaper”.

The Al-Quds column is said to have challenged Meles’s characterisation of his country as “Orthodox Christian Ethiopia,” CPJ said.

The editor has begun serving his sentence at Kality Prison outside the capital Addis Ababa, the watchdog said.

“The jailing of Ezedin Mohamed is another example of Ethiopia’s intolerance of independent and critical voices,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes. “It is high time for Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to demonstrate his commitment to democratic values by ending the practice of imprisoning journalists.”

Mohamed is the fifth journalist to be imprisoned in Ethiopia, which is the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa, CPJ said, adding that only neighbouring Eritrea jails more.

  1. Ayub
    | #1

    The notion no journalists should be questioned or challenge legally is a dangerous route. Journalists play a very important role in educating,informing and exposing all dubious activity by those who abuse their power. In the process they risk ill treatment,prison and the ultimate death. I will not dare question their vital role in Ethiopian politics. But as always you have bad Apple in every sector of profession. We should not conclude those journalists who use their position to insight racial hatred and religious intolerance should be be exempt from the legal process.

  2. ሰሎሞን ተሰማ
    | #2

    እኒ እንደ አንድ ኢትዮጵያዊ ብርቱካን ወንጀል ስለሰራች የእስራት ቅጣትዋ እንድትጨርስ እፈልጋሎህ

  3. tafesse
    | #3

    Well said, Ayub. Before questioning a sentence by the judiciary, we need to have the facts on the table and not only the views that CPJ entertains, that is journalists are holy cows and therefore, above the law. What CPJ is proposing is that we fire the judiciary, never to return again and let any and all journalist write whatever they please. If indeed the said journalist was sentenced exclusively because he criticized PM for making the stupid claim that Ethiopia is an Orthodox country, and if PM had truly said that, a most unlikely scenario, then I shall be the first to criticize the PM. If, on the other hand, there are other contradictory facts, then I would say it is highly deplorable to accuse the judiciary, who are working under the most difficult circumstances where the rule of law in previous governments was a scarce commodity.

  4. M
    | #4

    I appreciate this article. And I am really sad for the activities of the gangster ruling party in Ethiopia. But I think that those who have commented above have no idea about the actual words what he has said. He has arrogantly insulted both Orthodox and Muslim religions and make other followers laugh laudly. It is really disappointing speech. I was so upset when I heard his blasphemous and simple minded speech. Even the real reason for relgious conflicts in ethiopia is Meles himself. He is exercesing monopolistic power not only on political issues but he is also doing same on religious issue specially regarding these two religions. His removal for sure resolves all problems we faced in ethiopia.

    Let God bless ETHIOPIA AND HER PEOPLE!!!! Amen!!!

  5. Ayub
    | #5

    Dear M, i think it will be your responsibility to point out the actual words he used. Even though i have a problem to address you as a Brother or Sister, my advise is, let us not meddle with religion which is dear to all of us. Brother/sister the point i was trying to make is, no one is above the law. As always, if it is not written it is rumors. Brother/sister let us not try to outsmart one another by being more patriotic or more religious than other purely because of our religious or political beliefs. It is yours and mine responsibility to ask questions without fear of being labelled as supporter of any groups.

  6. ayalkebet
    | #6

    the above comenatators,i don’t understand you, why is that you don’t have a tiny stand for the truth happend to the reporter,he is in jail just becouse he critisized meles.therefore meles orderd the judje to throw the journalist to prison for one year.that is what happend,you guys pretend that as if nothing happend.i feel sorry for you,if you don’t know the case or didn’t understand don’t comment.

  7. M
    | #7

    Dear Ayub your comment seems to imply that there is rule of law in Ethiopia today which is nearly absent. If you need to know the actual words of the forged ruler (indeed I have to say so, you can check it on youtube. You can find it easly. Am not saying that the whole analysis of the journalist was correct. Yet, it is not the articles provocative voice which actually results in the sentence, rather the need to respect personality of one person(prime minister), though the charge explicitly talks about some thing different. Dont you know that there is wider room of criticism against politicials by public watch dogs (Journalists) which is legal and necessary for civilized society. Sorry, indeed Meles is yet ruling using dictatorial principles of communism and there is no way to challenge any fabricated charge in ethiopia.

  8. mateos
    | #8

    The main question or questions should be: WHY ARE MELES AND HIS BOSS FREE TO KILL, TORTURE, WAGE WARS, AND INSULT DIFFERENT FAITHS WITH OUT ANY CRITICISISM BY THEIR HANDLERS? because they are emloyees of the greedy weyane mafia families, NGO paedophiles who are milking their respective tax payers in the name of “SAVE THE HUNGRY ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE”, and above WHO CARES IF ANOTHER BLACK MAN IS ARRESTED, TORTURED, OR KILLED BY ANOTHER AFRICAN MAN; Ethiopians and all horn of African communities should wake-up together and say, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH TO THESE TOOLS OF MODERN COLONIZATION”.

  9. Robele Ababya
    | #9

    The real issue is the abscence of independent judiciary in Ethiopia. Otherwise, everyone has the right to bring grievances to the court of law.

    As we all know Meles arbitrarily breaks his own constitution. He pays lip service to democracy even as he keeps thousands of political prisoners in jail. In the case of Birtukan he even refused court rulings regarding her basic rights.

  10. Ayub
    | #10

    Dear Robele, i agree and it will be dishonest of me if i said the judiciary system it totally independent from the meddling of those in power. My approach and comment was to scrutinize and ask questions before i start denouncing or supporting any article coming from any corner. As you said, if Meles refused the court rulings regarding her basic rights it is an indication of the court’s independence somehow.

  11. Hayelom
    | #11

    Mr.Robela,

    You stated “the real issue is the abscence of independent judiciary in Ethiopia.” I have great respect for your opinion.However, I think the problem in Ethiopia is not to be traced to the poor performance of one institution.The oposition too has faild to adapt to changing surcumstances.As of now there is no cohesive organized voice agains the government.The leader of U.D.J is in prison,and UDJ is usurped by the separatists.This come as a result of the stategum envisioned by the regime,is there any surprise now if Melese speaks with supreme confidence about the impossiblity of Medeksa’s freedom? ,he is also instrumental for pushing sanction against Eritria in donig this the government has been scoring victory after victory against the oposition.Time for the oposition to unite,time to discuss issues with our neigbhours so that tall conserns can be dealt with,time to force this entity out of Addis with the only thing it understands might,fire.

  12. በረከት መንግስተአብ
    | #12

    ሰለሞን ተሰማ!
    ኢሳያስ አፈወርቂ,ሃገሬ ኤርትራን በጣም ማሳቂያና መቀለጃ እያደረገ ስለሆነ እሱም ዕስር ቤት መግባት አለበት!

  13. ougaz
    | #13

    melese and co is marching over the internet media biasing the readers after downplaying all printed media in the country. do u think people r fool to understand who is who doing all this with tax payer money that u r drinking whisky to the brim all night long.u think u can confuse the reader, comouflaging innocent comments, if u get one.so u r marching alot on internet free media ajuha woudi tigray

  14. Nadew Taye
    | #14

    I see us throwing back and forth on each otehr comments while Zenawis crime remain untouched on our own blind spots,
    THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS -IN TPLF’s ETHIOPIA NOW :-ZENAWI IS ABOVE THE CONSTITUTION AND THE RULE OF THE LAND, YOU CRITICIZE HIM YOU WILL END UP MURDERED,”DIE OF CAR ACCIDENT”,”DISAPPEAR” ,OR THROWN TO JAIL AND FACE WITH ZENAWI PUPPET JUDGES WHO EXCUTED HIS ORDER NOT THE RULE OF LAW OR THE CONSTITUTIONS OF ETHIOPIA .

  15. Ayub
    | #15

    Ato Hayelom , the blog very interesting. Reality very poor. Why, you are a coward. Might i agree very easy. The might Fire which side are you?

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