Judge confirms charges against Ethiopian dissident blogger
"New York, January 25, 2012--Jailed Ethiopian dissident blogger Eskinder Nega will stand trial in March for all of the terrorism accusations initially advanced by prosecutors, a federal high court judge ruled yesterday, local sources said. If convicted on all charges, he could face the death penalty. Judge Endeshaw Adane of the third criminal bench of the Lideta Federal High Court in the capital Addis Ababa reviewed evidence presented by government prosecutors yesterday and confirmed all six charges against Eskinder. His trial will begin March 5. Five other journalists, all in exile and to be tried in absentia, initially faced the same terrorism charges. At yesterday's hearing, the judge confirmed all six charges for two of those accused and dismissed all but one charge against three others. "This ruling is an affront to justice and underscores that these are politicized charges used by the government to intimidate journalists and chill news-gathering activities," said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. "We call for all terrorism charges to be dropped as they are baseless, and for Eskinder to be released immediately" The two journalists besides Eskinder who still face all six charges are exiled editors of opposition broadcasters: Abebe Belew of the U.S.-based Internet radio Addis Dimts and Fasil Yenealem of the Netherlands-based ESAT, according to CPJ sources and news reports. Three other exiled editors -- Abebe Gellaw of the U.S.-based Addis Voice and Mesfin Negash and Abiye Teklemariam of U.S.-based Addis Neger Online -- will be tried in absentia under a single terrorism charge each, according to local sources..."
Continue reading: http://www.cpj.org/2012/01/ethiopian-blogger-risks-death-penalty-as-judge-con.php
Author Organisation: Committe to Protect Journalists (CPJ)