“The judges were biased and incompetent, defence rights were violated and the sentence was decided in advance on the basis of spurious arguments. Everything suggests that it was a politically-motivated reprisal,” said RSF and RFI, noting the sentence comes “at the very moment that a law designed to protect journalists from imprisonment is on the point of being adopted.”
A journalist in Ethiopia and another in Burundi are facing life behind bars after shocking verdicts in unrelated cases but with almost identical anti-terrorism charges, say IFEX members.
Just today, well-known Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega was convicted in a trial that 10 groups jointly called “the criminalisation of peaceful dissent in Ethiopia.” And last week, Hassan Ruvakuki, a radio journalist in Burundi, was sentenced to life imprisonment, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
On 27 June, the High Court in Addis Ababa found Nega guilty of “participation in a terrorist organisation” and “planning, preparation, conspiracy, incitement and attempt of (a) terrorist act,” says a joint statement by 10 groups including five IFEX members – the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Human Rights Watch, the International Press Institute (IPI), PEN American Center and the World Association of Newspapers and News…
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