Zenawi jails prominent blogger, opposition figures

July 13th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

(Reuters) – Twenty Ethiopians, including a prominent blogger and opposition figures were jailed for between eight years to life on Friday on charges of conspiring with rebels to topple the government.

Ethiopia, a major recipient of Western aid, has said it is fighting separatist rebel movements and armed groups backed by its arch-foe Eritrea.

But rights groups say the Horn of Africa country, sandwiched between volatile Somalia and Sudan, is using broad anti-terrorism legislation to crack down on dissent and media freedoms. Addis Ababa denies the charge.

Blogger and journalist Eskinder Nega, who was arrested last year and accused of trying to incite violence with a series of online articles, was jailed for 18 years.

Five other exiled journalists and a blogger were sentenced in absentia to between 15 years to life.

Opposition official Andualem Arage was jailed for life. Two other prominent opposition figures Berhanu Nega and Andargachew Tsige, who are out of the country, also received life sentences.

“The court has given due considerations to the charges and the sentences are appropriate,” Judge Endeshaw Adane said during the proceedings in Addis Ababa.

The 20 were charged last year, most of them in absentia, with six counts including conspiracy to dismantle the constitutional order, recruitment and training for terror acts and aiding Eritrea and a rebel group to disrupt security.

They were also accused of belonging to Ginbot 7, a group branded a “terrorist” organization by the Ethiopian government.

Another four people charged alongside them were not sentenced on Friday and were being treated as a separate case, said court officials.

Exiled opposition leader Berhanu Nega, was also jailed for life on charges of treason in the aftermath of 2005′s disputed parliamentary election, but was later pardoned.

  1. bong
    | #1

    Meles may your cancer kill you soon and you rot in hell. You heartless fascist, the devil has taken out your heart out of your body.

  2. ለምለም
    | #2

    Let all justice loving people be voices for the voiceless, here is mine:

    ‘ፍርደ ገምድል ዳኛ!’
    “የጌታንም ድምፅ። ማንን እልካለሁ? ማንስ ይሄድልናል? ሲል ሰማሁ። እኔም። እነሆኝ፥ እኔን ላከኝ አልሁ።” (ትንቢተ ኢሳይያስ ምዕራፍ 6 ቁጥር 8
    እኔ እነቴን ተውኝ እንደ ተረ ተረት፤
    ነገር ግን መልእክቴን እንደቀላል ነገር
    በከንቱ አትጣሉት።
    መንደሩ አገሩ በሆነበት አህጉር፤
    እስኪ ልውሰዳችሁ
    ወደ ኢትዮጵያ ምድር።
    የተፈጥሮ እልቂት ሲመጣ አይቻለሁ
    አንበጣ ሢወረን እንደ ዓውሎ ነፋስ
    እህል ቀጠል ሳይለይ ፈጽሞ ሲጨርስ፤
    በልቶ ሲያበቃ ግን በሞት ሲደመሰስ።
    ጥፋቱ ቢበዛም ትንሽ ትልቅ ሣይል
    እኔ አይቻለሁ ሕዝብ ተረባርቦ ወገኑን ሲመግብ፤
    ነግ ለኔሳ ብሎ በፍጹም ሳያስብ።
    የኔ መልእክት ይህ ነው
    እንደዚያ ኢሳይያስ አምላክ ያስታወቀኝ
    ፍርደ ገምድል ዳኛ
    ኢትዮጵያን ሲያዛባት ቀኑ የሱ መስሎት፤
    2
    ይመከር ይገሰጽ
    በቆፈረው ጉድጓድ እንዳይገባ ድንገት።
    ወፏ ስትል ሰማሁ መንደሩ አገሩ በሆነበት አህጉር
    ፍርደ ገምድል ዳኛ
    እጅግ ይከበራል በአዲስ አበባ አገር።
    ለምግብም ቢገዛ ፍርደ ገምድል ዳኛ፤
    ወዮለት ታዛቤም ጸጥ ብሎ የሚተኛ።
    እንደሻው አዳነ ደግሞ እንደመላኩ
    ጎንደሬ ነኝ ብሎ ፈረደ በዓንዱኣለም፤
    ፈጣሪ አስታውቆኛል
    እንደሻው አዳነ ፍርደ ገምድል ዳኛ
    ይሁዳ ነው እንጅ ክርስቶስ አይደለም።
    ፍርደ ገምድል ዳኛ
    ኢትዮጵያን ሲያዛባት ቀኑ የሱ መስሎት፤
    ይመከር ይገሰጽ
    በቆፈረው ጉድጓድ እንዳይገባ ድንገት።
    አገሪ ኢትዮጵያ ምን ግዛት አቋቋምሽ፤
    መሪት ላራሽ ብለው
    ለእልቂት ያጋለጡሽ?
    ዓምላክን አይፈራ ወይ ባህል አይገታው
    3
    ወንድም ወገን ሳይለይ
    በዱር በገደሉ ሲገል የለመደው፤
    ከፈረንጅ በቀር ወገን እየጠላ ፍርሃትን ያዘለው
    ከራባትን ሲለብስ ስልጣኔ መሰለው።
    እንደሻው አዳነ ደግሞ እንደመላኩ
    ጎንደሬ ነኝ ብሎ ፈረደ በዓንዱኣለም፤
    ፈጣሪ ነግሮኛል
    እንደሻው አዳነ ፍርደ ገምድል ዳኛ
    ይሁዳ ነው እንጅ ክርስቶስ አይደለም።
    ፍርደ ገምድል ዳኛ
    ኢትዮጵያን ሲያዛባት ቀኑ የሱ መስሎት፤
    ይመከር ይገሰጽ
    በቆፈረው ጉድጓድ እንዳይገባ ድንገት።
    © ለምለም ጸጋው; July 3, 2012
    በኢትዮጵያ ምድር ያለአገባብ ተፈርዶባቸው በእስር ቤት ለሚማቅቁ
    ሁሉ ለማስታወሻ የተጻፈ

  3. Sam
    | #3

    Blogger and journalist Eskinder Nega … was [sentenced] for 18 years,” Reuters reported. The charge was “conspiring with rebels to topple the government.” What is really “conspiracy” means? This is a political word. The government defines it as it likes it to be. Did Eskinder and others sat down with rebels and mapped out a plan to “topple the government?” Of course not. In fact, the rebels did not and do not reside in Addis, but all the accused do. Be aware those accused were not charged of being member of the rebels party or movement. So what is this “conspiracy?” Let us assume the government has the beef on the accused. What it possibly would be? The most probable case would be they sympathized with the rebels’ goal? Is not any Ethiopian free to think for himself/herself? The accused did not arm themselves and fought the government on the battlefield. If the government keeps sentencing every Ethiopian who has symphaty to the rebels agenda, could Ethiopia will have enough prisons to hold them? Of course the government will not dare to do that. The plan is to incarcenate those who were which the government believed to be influential and scare the citizens to death. Maybe the government plan had success or maybe not. Time will tell. But one thing is certain. EPDRF has never been a complete totalitarian state as is now. As times goes by, its totilarianism rises exponentially. That is scary indeed.

  4. ananymous
    | #4

    Every prisoner will be free soon ones Melese/abebe/legesse, his boss Mebrahtu g/hiwot and their al-mouares are buried 10 feet under. It is coming peace loving citizens

  5. rommel
    | #5

    The woyane butchers
    1.Meles zenawi – a kchat addicted cancer infested murderer who is the chief architect for demise of Ethiopia
    2. Tedros Adhanom – a cold blooded fascist and Ethiopia hater, who is a minister of health, and zenawi’ s right hand man( his main job is to spread HIV AIDS as part of the deliberate policy of the TPLF to wipe out the amhara population} and is implicated in the mass murderer and eviction of innocent people in Gonder(wolkait, Humera,alamata, Yeju etc

    The recent eviction of upto 70,000 amharas from southern Ethiopia is the work of this heartless fascist and his accomplices sebhat nega, abay tsehaye , bereket simon
    3. Abay tsehaye- another heartless fascist who is engaged in falsifying Ethiopian history.
    4.Sebhat Nega – a corrupt and greedy fascist with insatiable appetite for cash whose hates Ethiopia
    5. Bereket simon – minister of lies and more lies whose main job is to cover up the crimes of the woyane butchers.
    6.Tefera Walwa – a woyane henchman whose
    7.Addissu Legesse – another fascist henchman who has been responsible for the murder

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