Ethiopian blogger jailed


Image: Eskinder Nega . By BiztechAfrica
Eskinder Nega

Prominent Ethiopian journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega has been jailed for 18 years for his online criticism of the government.

Nega was among 20 Ethiopians sentenced this week on charges of conspiring to topple the government.

Five other journalists and a blogger were also sentenced in absentia to between 15 years and life in prison.

The organisation calling itself Free Eskinder Nega says just prior to his detention, Nega had published an online column critical of the use of the terrorism law to silence dissent and calling for the Ethiopian government to respect freedom of expression and end torture in the country’s prisons.

Recently, five free speech and human rights activist groups called for his release.The US Department of State said in a statement that it was “deeply concerned about the Ethiopian government’s conviction of a number of journalists and opposition members under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.”

The statement said this practice raised serious questions and concerns about the intent of the law, and about the sanctity of Ethiopians' constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

Jailed blogger Eskinda Neger recently won the 2012 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write award.

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