Ethiopia: Columnist sentenced to three years for inciting the public against the government
Awramba Times (Addis Ababa) – An Ethiopian columnist named Temesgen Desalegn has been sentenced to three years in prison on charges of defamation and incitement.
According to the charge sheet distributed on social medias, columnist Temesgen was convicted in connection with opinion pieces published two years ago in the now-defunct Feteh newspaper.
“Temesgen becomes the first journalist who’s accused and found guilty only for what he’s written in a newspaper,” his lawyer Ameha Mekonnen told Bloomburg News.
Communications Minister Redwan Hussien on his part said that the columnist was convicted for incitement and misinforming the public.
The New York-based committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) promptly condemned the sentencing of Temesghen Desalegn.
In a statement published on October 27, 2014, the organization’s East Africa Representative,Tom Rhodes urged Ethiopian authorities to overturn Temesgen’s conviction and release him.
“With each journalist sentenced to prison, Ethiopia takes another step further from freedom of the press and democratic society,” Tom Rhodes added.