Posts tagged ethiopia
Posts tagged ethiopia
Ethiopian blogger Eskinder Nega jailed for 18 years
A prominent Ethiopian journalist and blogger has been sentenced to 18 years in jail for violating the country’s anti-terrorism legislation.
Eskinder Nega and 23 others were found guilty last month.
They were accused of links with US-based opposition group Ginbot Seven, which Ethiopia considers a terrorist organisation.
Opposition activist Andualem Arage was given a life sentence by the court in the capital, Addis Ababa.
In May, Eskinder was awarded the prestigious Pen America’s Freedom to Write annual prize for his work.
Human rights groups have criticised Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism legislation for being too far-reaching.
“The court has given due considerations to the charges and the sentences are appropriate,” Reuters news agency quotes Judge Endeshaw Adane as saying.
Eskinder and Andualem, a member of the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice party, were in court on Friday to hear their sentence - 16 members of the group found guilty in June are in exile, AFP news agency reports.
The two men waved to family members as they walked into the courtroom which was filled with friends and family of the activists, as well as journalists and diplomats, the agency says.
Eskinder was arrested last September after publishing an article questioning arrests under the anti-terrorism legislation, especially that of well-known Ethiopian actor and government critic Debebe Eshetu.
In 1993 Eskinder opened his first newspaper and has been detained at least seven times by the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
Rights group Amnesty International said the trial fell short of international standards.
“The imprisonment… is emblematic of the Ethiopian government’s determination to gag any dissenting voice in the country,” Amnesty’s Ethiopia researcher Claire Beston said in a statement.
Pictured: Eskinder Nega was arrested after publishing a column questioning the arrests of some journalists
Part 1 of TED Radio Hour episode Africa: The Next Chapter. You can watch the three TED Talks featured in this segment — Ory Okolloh On Becoming An Activist, Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger Of A Single Story and Eleni Gabre-Madhin On Ethiopian Economics — on TED.com.
Blow to press freedom as Ethiopia convicts 24 of plotting rebellion
Concern at repression under Meles Zenawi after blogger Eskinder Nega, honoured by PEN America, is convicted
Human rights groups have condemned the conviction of 24 Ethiopians, including a prominent journalist, on charges of conspiring with rebels to overthrow the government.
The case, the third terrorism verdict against journalists in six months, underlined concerns of growing repression under Meles Zenawi, the prime minister.
The journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega and two leading opposition politicians, along with five other men, were found guilty of “terrorist acts”, “encouragement of terrorism”, “high treason” and several other charges.
Judge Endeshaw Adane ruled in court on Wednesday that the defendants’ main aim had been to spark an Arab spring-style revolt in the country. “Under the guise of freedom of speech and gathering, the suspects attempted to incite violence and overthrow the constitutional order,” he said.
A further 16 men were found guilty in absentia, including several journalists and one human rights activist.
Nega, recently honoured with the prestigious Pen America press freedom award, was arrested last year and accused of trying to incite violence with a series of online articles. He was also accused of belonging to Ginbot 7, a political movement branded a terrorist organisation by the Ethiopian government.
Sentencing is expected on 13 July. Prosecutors said they would not demand the death penalty but have called for terms of imprisonment from five years to life for the group.
Pictured: The defence lawyer for Eskinder Nega and 23 others found guilty of terrorism in Ethiopia, Abebe Guta, talks to reporters after the verdict in Addis Ababa. Photograph: Jenny Vaughan/AFP/Getty Images
Fleeing conflict, drought and famine in Somalia, about 130 people arrive daily at the Dolo Ado refugee camp in south-west Ethiopia. The number represents a significant decrease compared with last summer, but – as clashes continue between al-Shabaab and Ethiopian troops across the river border – humanitarian agencies are worried that increased fighting or drought could once again turn a manageable trickle of arrivals into a flood. Last month, Ruth Evans spoke to World Food Programme aid workers and refugee Zainab Mohammed at Dolo Ado’s Buramino camp
Ethiopia stages fresh attacks inside Eritrea
Government official says attacks on alleged rebel bases took place in north of the country and were “successful”.
Ethiopian troops have carried out more attacks on what they say are rebel bases inside neighbouring Eritrea, a government official said.
The official said the attacks on Saturday, a day after Eritrea called for UN action over a similar incursion earlier in the week, took place in Badme in the north of the Red Sea state.
“We’ve carried out further attacks on targets inside Eritrea. This time it’s in the north section around Badme,” the official told the Reuters news agency.
“We were once again successful. This strike was part of our plan to take proportional measures that included the [earlier] attacks in Eritrea’s southeast.”
The attacks are the first on Eritrean soil that Ethiopia has admitted to since the end of a 1998-2000 war that killed 70,000 people and left a border dispute unresolved. Eritrea says there have been others.
He did not specify who had been targeted in the latest attack.
On Thursday Ethiopia said it had raided three military bases inside Eritrea that it said were being using to train an Ethiopian rebel group.
Ethiopia blames the rebels for killing five foreign tourists and kidnapping two others in its remote Afar region in January.
The Eritrean government said on Friday the attacks on its military outposts were carried out with the help of the US and meant to divert attention from a decade-old border dispute between the two countries.
“The objective of the attack … is to divert attention from the central issue of the regime’s flagrant violation of international law and illegal occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories,” a statement from Eritrea’s foreign ministry said.
“Eritrea … will not be entrapped by such deceitful ploys that are aimed at derailing and eclipsing the underlying fundamental issues.”
Ethiopia’s government has embarked on a massive dam-building project, which it hopes will generate alternative sources of power and also help to turn the country’s economy around.
But the idea is not without controversy, and critics have said the endeavour will be an environmental disaster.
Nazanine Moshiri reports from the Gibe III dam site in Oromia, in western Ethiopia.
Construction has begun on a $23bn (£14.5bn) port project and oil refinery in south-eastern Kenya’s coastal Lamu region near war-torn Somalia’s border.
An oil pipeline, railway and motorway will also be built linking Lamu to South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Newly independent South Sudan plans to use Lamu as its main oil export outlet.
A BBC reporter says security concerns for the project may explain the presence of Ethiopian and Kenyan troops in Somalia aiming to pacify the region.
Kenya’s leader Mwai Kibaki launched the project along with his South Sudanese and Ethiopian counterparts, Salva Kiir and Meles Zenawi respectively.
“I have no doubt that this day will go down in history as one of the defining moments - when we made a major stride to connect our people to the many socio-economic opportunities that lie ahead,” AFP news agency quotes Mr Kibaki as saying at the inauguration ceremony.
Known as Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lapsset), it is expected to be completed within four years with initial costs coming from the three governments and plans to attract international investment.
Steven Ikuwa, the administrator in charge of Lapsset, told the BBC the scale of the plans was huge.
“I am proud to say this is one of the biggest projects that we are carrying out in Africa.”
The BBC’s Noel Mwakugu in Lamu says there are worries about the impact of the project on Lamu district, which is one of East Africa’s most beautiful and relatively unspoiled environments along the Indian Ocean and includes a cultural heritage site on Lamu Island.
“Lamu is a living heritage. Already Unesco has declared Lamu a World Heritage Site - as an endangered site,” Mualimu Badi from the Save Lamu group told the BBC.
“If 500,000 people come to work as workers, we stand to lose that status.”
Today’s VOA60 Africa
Ethiopia: African Union leaders end summit without agreeing on new head for organization’s main decision-making body, forcing new election in six months.
Ethiopia: On sidelines of AU summit UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon calls for dialogue in Libya to promote national reconciliation.
Sudan: Khartoum agrees to release ships carrying cargos of crude oil from South Sudan in bid to help two states reach deal over oil revenues.
Somalia: Teachers who fled country’s civil war are returning to help develop educational system.
Uganda: Members of the gay community mark the first anniversary of the killing of a gay rights activist in Kampala.
African Union leaders are meeting for their first summit since the death of Muammar Gaddafi, the bloc’s founder, with the selection of top officials and discussion of crises on the continent dominating the agenda.
The leaders, gathered in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on Sunday for a two-day summit have choosen Thomas Boni Yayi, Benin’s president, as the 54-member bloc’s new chairman.