The Ethiopian bloggers charged as terrorists

August 8th, 2014 Print Print Email Email

A group of journalists and bloggers known as the Zone Nine collective have felt the full force of a government media crackdown. With their colleagues imprisoned awaiting trial they took over Six members of Ethiopia’s blogging collective and three journalists, known as Zone Nine, are facing terrorism charges. In an alleged plot to “destabilise the nation” they stand accused of having links to banned rebel group Ginbot 7 and planning attacks.

The group have been imprisoned since April, with critics accusing the government of making unnecessary delays to the trial at their expense. There have been seven hearings and it emerged that the latest, due to be held this week, would be postponed until 20 August.

The Zone Nine mantra is “we blog because we care”. They became known for criticising the government and its policies. Last month, their colleagues mobilised online campaigners, asking them to use the hashtag #FreeZone9Bloggers to protest in favour of their release.

Freedom activists have criticised the detention of the bloggers. Responding to the court issuing the terror charge on the 18 July, Human Rights Watch said Ethiopia is making a “mockery of its own judicial system” and “hiding behind an abusive anti-terrorism law.”

A sustained government crackdown has crippled Ethiopia’s independent press and a briefly “thriving and energetic blogosphere” has been silenced by government censorship, says blogging website global voices. Freedom House categorises Ethiopia’s press as “not free”.

We invited two members of the blogging collective, Soliyana Shimeles and Endalk Chala to takeover @guardianafrica to answer your questions. Where does the case stand? How do they cope with censorship? And what do they hope for the future?

  1. ESKEMECHE
    | #1

    Indeed a mockery of justice. Listen to the government accusing these Zone 9 bloggers in an alleged plot to “destabilize the nation”. What a farce! Is this government so insecure that it is afraid Zone 9 bloggers are going to destabilize Ethiopia? WOW! How TPLF is shaking inside its cave! Zone 9 are our heroes. You will be free. Time is approaching.

  2. kentu
    | #2

    We are really. Sick because. We. Need. Our. Freedom through bloggers,protest in front of embassy this is really. Great shame. Not only. For us even. The next generations this. Make us fool by weyane and Shania. Even for the other society. Who watching. Us every single. Event please things. Twice. Because. Of you I can’t. See weyane and Shania supporters I feel. Grast shameful please. For the seak of me never ever do it again .

  3. kentu
    | #3

    You have. Two option yes or no the first. Option. Is do what. Weyane and became modern. Slave. Or say the. Second. Option no go to jungle and fight through. Blood. And sweet

  4. Anonymous
    | #4

    the best man in Ethiopia is samual zemicheal I wish to meet him in person he cheat the whole nation including government apparatues university, president girma, minister I wish to make a big protest in the world to release from jail not the weak journalist or opposition party members GOOD LUCK!

  5. Anonymous
    | #5

    the best man samual zemicheal in jail in Ethiopia so we need to make protest to release him soon we have only big lier in our country so we loose him I wish to meet him in person because he cheating to wgole nation including president girma ,commerce minister genet government media tv, news paper radio so this is our time to protest infront un embassy he is not like journalist or opposition party members he diserve recognition and dignity even he lie it does,t matter he is great lier

  6. kentu
    | #6

    I need to protest infront ethio embassy, un use to release our hero samuael zemicheal to fool weyane and the rest of 90 million people.BY CREATING FEKE DGREE,DR. PHD I TOLD YOU 6 YEARS AGO EVEN I CHANGE MY BABY DIAPER I CAN LEAD ETHIOPIA BECOUSE WE ARE REALY ABUSED SOCIATY EVEN ONE SINGLE PERSON ASK HIM WHO HE IS

  7. Amare
    | #7

    Ethiopia should not tolerate haters,violence inciters and Terrorists.
    Ethiopia becoming success story when it comes to capturing and discouraging terrorists, whether these terrorists sleeper cells or using other professional job, such as journalism to cover their crimes and to do their terrorist activities in the name journalism.

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