Thursday, December 1, 2011

Persecution of Ethiopian Journalists

Bertrand Pecquerie, CEO
Global Editors Network
Paris, France

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing as a proud member of The Global Editors Network(GEN), a
blogger, journalist, and scholar to bring to your attention the
continued and ever mounting persecution of journalists by the
Government of Ethiopia(GoE) in different manners. The GOE has
recently intensified the arrest and systematic harassment of
journalists and pundits publishing critical analyses, unfavorable
news, and unflattering contents.

In the trial held on November 23, 2011 of 24 people charged with
terrorism on November 10 where six of the suspects were journalists.
So far, ten journalists are being tried in three separate terrorism
related cases in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is currently making illegal
use of its anti-terror law as a pretext to arrest journalists and
political activists. The editor of one of Ethiopia's few remaining
independent Amharic-language newspapers has fled the country amid
concerns that more arrests are coming. In this regard, Human Rights
Watch and Amnesty International issued a statement on 21 November 2011
calling on Ethiopian authorities to stop using anti-terrorism laws to
stifle political dissent.

Many Ethiopians, who did their best and hardest to remain neutral and
objective in the highly divided and polarized domestic politics, have
already run out of any hermeneutic charity with GoE ever since the
latest institution of a criminal suit in absentia on counts of
terrorism against Abiye Teklemariam and Mesfin Negash, the two
founding journalists of Addis Neger, who went into exile two years
ago, and worst of all, after it had been consistently denying that it
had no intention of criminally charging them and after the gruesome
rebuttal it issued against the teacher who burnt himself in protest
to the effect that he had been suffering from mental illness.

This is therefore to kindly request GEN to issue a statement
condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the unconstitutional acts
of the Government of Ethiopia.

Alemayehu Fentaw
Chicago, IL.

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