Journalists accused of terror plot by Ethiopian government
Summary of story from Committee to Protect Journalists, June 30, 2011
Two journalists, one of them a woman, have been held by the government in Ethiopia, accused of terrorist activity under the country’s anti-terrorism law.
Woubshet Tave, deputy editor of the Awramba Times and Reeyot Alemu, columnist for the weekly Feteh, who have been held since last week, have been accused of involvement in a terrorist plot.
The law under which the pair has been held criminalizes any writing viewed as favourable to terrorist groups or causes, although this is the first time that it has been used against journalists.
A government spokesman confirmed that the two journalists are among nine people accused of organizing a terrorist network although neither has yet been charged.
According to news reports, the group is accused of planning attacks on Ethiopia’s infrastructure, telecommunications and power lines, and is reported to have links with an unnamed international terrorist group in Eritrea.
Some view the accusations against Taye and Alemu as part of an ongoing attempt by the Ethiopian government to silence journalists critical of the administration by making false allegations.
CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita called for the pair’s immediate release, as their detention means they cannot defend themselves against such claims.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, a spokesperson for the government denied that Taye and Alemu’s arrests were linked to their negative view of the government although Alemu had written critically on the government’s methods and Taye had criticized local politics.