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Bloggers face retrial

Publish date: 10 April 2017
Issue Number: 721
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Ethiopia

Ethiopia's Supreme Court has ordered two bloggers who had been critical of the government to face trial again more than a year after they were acquitted of terrorism charges. The bloggers were members of the Zone 9 website who were arrested in April 2014 as part of a crackdown on the media. The Addis Standard reports that the court upheld the ruling by the Federal High Court to acquit Soliana Shimelis (who was charged in absentia) and Abel Wabela of the terrorism charges. However, it ruled that Natnael Feleke and Atnaf Berhanem should be charged with inciting violence as opposed to terrorism. They face jail terms of up to 10 years if convicted. The trial was marked by several irregularities and witness inconsistencies. A report on the News24 site notes that the detention of the bloggers was condemned by groups such as Reporters Without Borders, which ranks Ethiopia at 142 out of 180 countries on its press freedom index.

Full report on the News24 site

Full Addis Standard report