From ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – RIGHTS groups are outraged at the guilty verdict passed on a political activist found guilty of promoting terrorism through online media posts.Former Ethiopian opposition spokesman, Yonatan Tesfaye, now faces up to 20 years in prison after courts found him liable for “encouragement of terrorism” in connection with his posts on the popular Facebook.Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said the verdict was a miscarriage of justice.“It is yet another example of how the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation is used to target and destroy people who criticize the government,” said Kagari.“All Yonatan did was express himself online. This is not a crime, yet he now faces up to 20 years in jail under this draconian and deeply-flawed law.”Kagari denounced the court as a shameful affront to people’s right to express themselves and further entrenches repression in the East African country. Yonatan, a former senior official in the opposition Semayawi (Blue) Party, was arbitrarily arrested in December 2015 for comments during which he criticized the government’s response to protests in the Oromia region.Government forces have been criticized for the heavy-handed response to protesters demanding better governance. Rights groups report more than 500 protesters have been killed and over 1000 detained.
– CAJ News