11 March 2016

Ethiopia: In Ethiopia, Journalist Detained Since 2013 Handed Jail Sentence

Photo: African Arguments
Muslims in Addis Ababa protest against what they perceive as government interference in religious affairs (file photo).

New York — Solomon Kebede, the managing editor of the now-defunct Ethiopian paper Ye Muslimoch Guday (Muslim Affairs), was sentenced to prison Thursday, more than three years after being jailed on anti-terrorism charges. CPJ was not immediately able to reconcile conflicting reports on the exact length of the prison sentence.

"Since his arrest in January 2013, Solomon Kebede has been put through a terrible ordeal, punished for nothing more than carrying out his work as a journalist," said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. "Ethiopia must put a stop to this abuse of power and stop using anti-terror laws as a guise for cracking down on critical voices."

The Ethiopia Human Rights Project, a non-governmental organization, reported on its Twitter feed today that Solomon was sentenced to three years and 11 months. However, two journalists familiar with the case, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, told CPJ the sentence was four years and 10 months and that time already served would count toward the jail term. CPJ was unable to determine the exact charge. Ethiopia is the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa, with 10 imprisoned for their work at the time of CPJ's annual prison census on December 1.


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