Friday, April 24, 2015

Jailed #FreeZone9Bloggers demands John Kerry to Stop Supporting Ethiopia

Natnael Feleke has been imprisoned for a year without trial. In a letter smuggled out of jail, he asks the US secretary of state to stop supporting the regime
Dear John Kerry,
Zone 9I first came to know about you back in 2004, during the US presidential election, when you were running for office against George Bush. At just 17 years old I knew little about US politics – or politics in general – but I discussed the campaigns with my schoolmates.
A year later, the historic 2005 Ethiopian national election took place. This election differed from previous votes in that the lead up to it was mostly democratic. This left many Ethiopians hoping they would witness the first elected change of government in the country’s history. But it was not to be.
After the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front realised they couldn’t win the election without rigging the vote, the true face of the regime emerged.
After polling day, we saw civilian bloodshed, and the arrest of thousands – including journalists and opposition leaders.
I was only young then, but the election gave me my first

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

IS shows purported executions in Libya of Ethiopia Christians

Image grab taken on April 19, 2015 from a video reportedly released by the Islamic State group purportedly shows men described as Ethiopian Christians captured in Libya kneeling in front of masked militants before their beheading on a beach in LibyaThe Islamic State group on Sunday released a video purportedly showing the execution of some 30 Ethiopian Christians captured in Libya.
The 29-minute IS video purports to show militants holding two groups of captives, described in text captions as "followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church".
A masked fighter in black brandishing a pistol makes a statement threatening Christians if they do not convert to Islam.
The video then switches between footage of one group of about 12 men being beheaded by masked militants on a beach and another group of at least 16 being shot in the head in a desert area.
It was not immediately clear who the captives were or how many were killed.
Before the killings, the video shows purported footage of Christians in Syria, saying they had been given the choice of converting to Islam or paying a special tax, and had decided to pay.
The video bore the logo of the IS media arm and was similar to past footage released by the jihadists, including of 21 Coptic Christians beheaded on a Libyan beach in February.
Feeding on the political chaos and unrest that has wracked Libya since the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi, several Libyan jihadist groups have pledged allegiance to IS.
Almost two-thirds of Ethiopians are Christians, mostly Orthodox Copts, who say they have been in the Horn of Africa nation since the first century AD.
There are also large numbers of protestants.
Ethiopia is Africa's second largest nation in terms of population, but large numbers of its more than 90 million people travel abroad to work in menial jobs so they can send money home.
Many go to Libya, using the North African nation as a stepping stone for the perilous crossing to Europe.

 Source: AFP

Friday, April 10, 2015

Evidence Against #FreeZone9Bloggers & Journalists Doesn’t Back Charges

By William Davison
(Bloomberg) -- Ethiopian prosecutors have failed to present evidence relating to charges that a group of bloggers and journalists support terrorism, a defense lawyer at the latest court hearing said.
Six members of the Zone 9 blogging group and three freelance journalists were charged in July at the Federal High Court in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, for working with banned organizations such as the U.S.-based Ginbot 7, which the Horn of Africa nation categorizes as a terrorist group. A witness on Wednesday testified that police last year collected a political manifesto from a Health Ministry office, where one of the defendants worked, lawyer Ameha Mekonnen said.
No witness is brought who has either direct or indirect knowledge of the material element of the charge,” Ameha said in an interview. “The witnesses are here to prove that there was no maltreatment or pressure when the search was conducted.”
The defendants are the latest government critics to be tried under Ethiopia’s 2009 anti-terrorism law, which the U.S. has said is being used to criminalize legitimate dissent.
Ethiopian officials reject the accusation.
The manifesto collected was for a “peaceful” political party led by the author Lencho Lata, a former head of the rebel Oromo Liberation Front, Ameha said. All of the other evidence filed to the court by prosecutors is of a similar public nature, he said. Prosecutors will get a final chance to present witnesses when the trial resumes on May 26, Ameha said.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Israel to deport Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to third countries

Authorities will give people 30 days to leave; those who refuse will face a hearing to determine their indefinite imprisonment. 
Israel will begin deporting asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan to unnamed third countries in Africa even if against their will, the immigration authority announced on Tuesday.
The assumption is that the third countries are Rwanda and Uganda, although Israel has not revealed details.
African asylum seekers gather around a fire during protests outside the Holot detention centre in the NegevAccording to the interior minister, Gilad Erdan, the move will “encourage infiltrators to leave the borders of the state of Israel in an honourable and safe way, and serve as an effective tool for fulfilling our obligations towards Israeli citizens and restoring the fabric of life to the residents of south Tel Aviv”.

Until now, the state exerted pressure and provided a one-off monetary incentive for asylum seekers to leave voluntarily, but only if they signed written consent. Now the state will give them 30 days