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Ethiopian politician Yonatan Tesfaye guilty of terror charge

Yonatan TesfayeImage copyright
Yonatan Tesfaye

Image caption

Yonatan Tesfaye now faces a sentence of up to 20 years

Ethiopian opposition politician Yonatan Tesfaye has been found guilty of encouraging terrorism for comments he made on Facebook.

He was arrested in December 2015 as a wave of anti-government protests in the Oromia region was gathering momentum.

The authorities objected to a post in which he said the government had used “force against the people instead of using peaceful discussion”.

Ethiopia has been criticised for using anti-terror laws to silence dissent.

Amnesty International described the charges as “trumped up“, when they were confirmed in May 2016.

A section of Ethiopia’s anti-terror law says that anyone who makes a statement that could be seen as encouraging people to commit an act of terror can be prosecuted.

Mr Yonatan, who was a spokesperson for the opposition Blue Party, is due to be sentenced later this month and faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

Image copyright
Reuters

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Protesters from Oromia and Amhara have been complaining about political and economic marginalisation

The government faced unprecedented protests from November 2015 as people in the Oromia region complained of political and economic marginalisation.

The protests also spread to other parts of the country.

More than 600 people died in clashes between security forces and the demonstrators as the authorities tried to deal with the unrest, according to the state-affiliated Human Rights Commission.

The government introduced a state of emergency last October to bring the situation under control.

Opposition leader Merera Gudina was arrested last December for criticising the state of emergency and he is still being held.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-39933874

jaapschaap

May 16th, 2017

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