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Ethiopia: Two journalists sentenced to 14 years on terrorism charges


Reporters Without Borders (http://www.rsf.org) Update

27 January 2012


Two journalists sentenced to 14 years on terrorism charges

A week after being found guilty of participating in a terrorist organization and preparing a terrorist attack, the Ethiopian journalists Reyot Alemu, columnist for the Amharic-language weekly Fitih, and Woubeshet Taye, deputy editor of Awramba Times – which has now closed own – were each sentenced yesterday to 14 years’ imprisonment.

“It is difficult to understand the Ethiopian justice system’s stubborn insistence on strictly applying an anti-terrorism law that has been accused of infringing on constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, and on convicting journalists who have not been proved to have done anything more than make contact with opposition figures,” Reporters Without Borders said.

The organisation believes proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest standard of evidence required to validate a criminal conviction in trials, was not met by the prosecution.

“These prison sentences are distressing and cause serious damage to Ethiopia’s image. We strongly hope that this case will be reviewed on appeal. Reyot Alemu and Woubeshet Taye are no criminals and must be released.”

Reporters Without Borders carried out a fact-finding mission in Ethiopia between 9 and 12 January.

More information about Alemu and Taye, as well as the state of press freedom in Ethiopia, can be found in the mission’s report entitled “Journalists are not terrorists”:



14 ans de prison pour deux journalistes inculpés de "terrorisme"

Une semaine après avoir été reconnus coupables de "participation à une organisation terroriste et préparation d’une attaque terroriste", les deux journalistes éthiopiens Reyot Alemu, éditorialiste pour l’hebdomadaire en amharique Fitih, et Woubeshet Taye, directeur adjoint de l’hebdomadaire en amharique Awramba Times – lequel a cessé de paraître – ont été condamnés, le 26 janvier 2012, à 14 ans de prison ferme.

"L’obstination de la justice éthiopienne à appliquer avec la plus grande fermeté la loi antiterroriste, alors même qu’elle est accusée d’empiéter sur les libertés garanties par la Constitution, est incompréhensible. De même que celle de reconnaître coupables des journalistes dont il n’a pas été prouvé qu’ils aient fait quoi que ce soit d’autre qu’être en contact avec des personnalités de l’opposition", a déclaré Reporters sans frontières.

L’organisation estime que des preuves irréfutables de leur culpabilité, nécessaires pour les reconnaître comme des criminels, n’ont pas été fournies par le procureur.

"Ces peines de prison sont navrantes et nuisent gravement à l’image de l’Ethiopie. Nous espérons vivement que cette affaire sera revue en appel. Reyot Alemu et Woubeshet Taye ne sont pas des criminels, ils doivent être libérés", a conclu Reporters sans frontières.

L’organisation vient d’effectuer une mission d’enquête en Ethiopie, du 9 au 12 janvier 2012.

Plus d’informations sur Reyot Alemu et Woubeshet Taye, ainsi que sur l’état de la liberté de la presse en Ethiopie, dans le rapport de cette mission, intitulé "Les journalistes ne sont pas terroristes" :


Ambroise PIERRE
Bureau Afrique / Africa Desk
Reporters sans frontières / Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris, France
Tel : (33) 1 44 83 84 76
Fax : (33) 1 45 23 11 51
Email : afrique@rsf.org / africa@rsf.org
Web : www.rsf.org
Twitter : RSF_Africa

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  • 13 March 2012 08:19, by siddaw

    my godness. 14 years imprisonment??????????// is he not going to die in the prison????????????/ 5 to 6 years could have been better............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

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