ethiopiantimes

August 31, 2011

Ethiopia: ONLF Blocks Chinese Oil Exploration Company From Operating

Filed under: Uncategorized — ethiopiantimes @ 10:34 am
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Dhagahbur — The Ogaden National Liberation Front ONLF on Wednesday said it had blocked an oil exploration company from China to start explorations in the Ethiopian administrated Somalia region.

Head of the information for ONLF’s Hussein Mohamed Nur said in an interview with Shabelle Media Network that they have been involved in fighting with Ethiopian military forces who want to hand over Somalia territories to Chinese company to explore oil there.

At least three Ethiopian soldiers have been killed during the battle that took place in Dhagahbur area east of Ethiopia, according to the group.

He said that they forced the oil company from China to return back to JigJiga town where it has previously came from.

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August 30, 2011

Ethiopia Detains to Two Prominent Opposition Politicians

Two prominent Ethiopian opposition politicians have been detained, at least one of them on terrorism-related charges. But opposition leaders are questioning the charges, saying the detentions appear politically motivated.

Bekele Gerba

Government spokesman Shimeles Kemal says senior opposition figure Bekele Gerba was detained Saturday, charged with having ties to the newly-outlawed Oromo Liberation Front, or OLF, which is fighting for independence for Oromos, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group.

“Bekele Gerba was arrested, detained by the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force in his alleged connection with his involvement with the recently proscribed terrorist organization OLF,” said Shimeless.

Bekele, an English teacher at Addis Ababa University, is a member of the executive committee of Ethiopia’s main opposition coalition, Medrek, and deputy chairman of the Oromo Federal Democratic Movement (OFDM).

Olbana Lelisa

Medrek leaders say another prominent Oromo opposition politician, Olbana Lelisa of the Oromo People’s Congress, was also detained. It was not immediately clear whether Olbana was also charged with terrorism.

Mogga Frissa, who currently serves as chairman of both Medrek and OFDM, says both men were involved in external communications for their parties. In that capacity, they had been disseminating data about drought and malnutrition in remote regions of southern Ethiopia, data that sometimes contradicts government information.

Mogga said Bekele in particular had told of the arrests of people who had supplied information for a recent BBC news report. That report alleged Ethiopia has used billions of dollars in development aid as a tool for political repression.

“Bekele was talking about the famine in Ethiopia, and people were giving information to these people,” said Mogga. “He heard some people who gave information to the BBC have been imprisoned in [the] south. So we suspect this is the cause.”

Ethiopia’s government strongly denied the BBC report, calling it irresponsible. A statement posted on the foreign ministry website noted that opposition parties and the group Human Rights Watch had made the allegations previously, and they had been found to be groundless.

The statement argues that allegations of aid misuse are aimed at persuading donors to cut off assistance, at a time when millions of people are suffering from one of the worst droughts in decades.

Opposition: Detentions a “witch hunt”

Veteran opposition leader Beyene Petros was among those quoted in the BBC report. In a telephone interview Tuesday, he said he stands by allegations of aid abuse. Beyene called the arrests of Bekele and Olbana part of a “witch hunt” that will have a chilling effect on anyone who might provide embarrassing information to the press.

“They are harassing our supporters and people down in the south, especially one individual whom they alleged has been guiding them to some locations where the BBC reporters obtained information,” said Beyene. “The government has dispatched security operatives to the area trying to dig up charges against individuals providing information, which the government finds sensitive and wants to hide.”

The latest arrests come at a time when two Ethiopian journalists who were critical of the government are facing charges of involvement in terrorist activities. Those arrests have raised concerns from international human rights and press freedom groups, who say the pretext of terrorism is being used to silence dissent.

Prosecutors, however, allege the journalists were involved in plot to sabotage electricity and telephone lines, and say the charges have nothing to do with their professional activities.

Eritrean diplomat disrupts IGAD session in Ethiopia

Filed under: Eritrea,Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 8:54 am
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The deputy ambassador of the Eritrean mission caused havoc last week at a meeting of the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) after refusing to leave the meeting although having been assured he was not welcome and asked repeatedly by hotel security staff to withdraw from the session.

Last Thursday, the six-state regional bloc, IGAD ran their fortieth, and most extraordinary meeting. Binyam Berhe, the aforementioned unwelcome Eritrean official, managed to bypass security, entering the session room at the Sheraton Addis. He proceeded to cause havoc and delayed the meeting by thirty minutes. The Reporter witnessed that the Eritrean representative rejected the request by officials to leave the room with claims that his country is “already a member of IGAD.” The IGAD secretary confirmed to the diplomat that his country was not invited to the meeting.

Ethiopian officials present at the meeting included ambassador Berhane Gebre Kiristos, the minister for foreign affairs and IGAD’s executive secretary Mahboub M. Maalim. All officials politely requested him to leave the session room explaining his country’s request of application to rejoin the bloc has not yet been decided.

The problem was eventually solved by the IGAD ministers and guests including the AUC Chair Person, Dr. Jean Ping, leaving the session for a short while. The Eritrean diplomat, was then isolated and escorted out of the room by the Sheraton Addis officials.

After the interruption, the IGAD session continued. Mahaboub M. Maalim welcomed the ministers requested pardon for the disturbance, saying “It is really embarrassing for me and for him (The Eritrean diplomat). The Eritrean officials are abusing my letter of welcoming their request to rejoin the block. In my reaction letter, I expressly explained them it is a welcome move but the decision is up to the head of states summit of IGAD.”

After discussions on issues of famine and humanitarian action in the Horn and particularly in the current political situation in Somalia, IGAD ministers urged in their communiqué, that it’s “rules and procedures be followed in the conduct of its business”, and further underscored that “The application of Eritrea for re admission to IGAD should follow appropriate procedures.”

Ambassador Berhane Gebre Kiristos, minister of foreign affairs of Ethiopia, denounced the current move by the Eritrean government, including the diplomat’s attempt to obstruct the IGAD session, saying that “the whole intent of the Eritrean government’s recent moves is not building relationship based on mutual interest […] nor it is an indication of changed behavior.” He further commented that the true intent of the minister is to “wiggle out” of sanctions made by IGAD and that the UNSC is deliberating. “They are making a frantic campaign to obstruct any and every effort towards tightening of sanctions against them.”

It is to be recalled that Eritrea has been self-suspended from IGAD last four years ago. But last month the Eritrean ministry of foreign affairs has sent letter of application for re-admission to the bloc which is yet to discussed by IGAD heads of states.

The famine and ‘vacuume’

Hailwemariam Desalegn, Deputy PM and foreign affairs minister of Ethiopia and the current chair of the IGAD council of ministers, stressed the need for “taking serious deliberations on the implication of the withdrawal of Al-Shabaab forces from Mogadishu.” Halemariam noted that there is a good opportunity for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to capture some of the moderate clan leaders and members of Al-Shabaab. However, he warned that if TFG fails to do so, then “the indications are that the vacuum that has already been created by Al-Shabaab’s withdrawal is likely to be filled by warlords,” which, he further comments, would return Somalia to the same situation of the past.

The chairperson of the AUC, Jean Ping, on his part shared the concerns and the opportunities stated by Halemariam. The relative calm, which he believed has come to Somalia, following the withdrawal of the Al-Shabaab forces from Mogadishu, could attract more internally displaced people which present formidable challenges to the TFG and the peacekeepers.
Apart from the security situation, the IGAD Ministers also discussed how the regional bloc could respond to the recurrent drought and famine in the Horn. Mahboub M. Maalim, the IGAD’s Executive secretary, expressed the need for urgent humanitarian response to the famine affected area and call for long term and sustainable solutions. Hailemariam on his part noted, “The tragic problems we facing at the moment are a reminder for a need to go beyond emergency solutions.”

Source: ER

August 29, 2011

Gaddafi`s Son Wife Burnt the face Ethiopian Woman

Filed under: Ethiopia,Lybia — ethiopiantimes @ 7:14 pm
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Tripoli, Libya (CNN) — Moammar Gadhafi told his people he lived modestly during his nearly 42-year rule over Libya, often sleeping in a Bedouin tent. READ MORE>>

August 28, 2011

Kenya, Ethiopia support Somali militia – report

Filed under: Ethiopia,Kenya,Somalia — ethiopiantimes @ 10:33 pm
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Kenya, Ethiopia support Somali militia – report

A suspected Al Shabaab militant under arrest. TFG allied militia have been accused of human rights abuses Picture: File

Kenya and Ethiopia are facing fresh accusations of supporting pro-government militia in Somalia who continue to violate human rights and international humanitarian law..

A report by the Human Rights Watch released last week details how the Al Shabaab, the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG), their allied militia, the Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa, and the militias supported by Kenya and Ethiopia, have routinely violated human rights.

Neela Ghoshal, the Human Rights Watch officer in charge of research in East Africa, argued that despite the inadequate international monitoring due to the ongoing conflict, cases of summary execution through beheading and indiscriminate counter attacks on civilians are a common occurrence.

Kenya and Ethiopia have also been accused of providing arms to militias supporting TFG without ensuring that these groups respect human rights.

While Kenya is trying to create a buffer zone known as Jubaland by training and arming groups that border her north eastern tip of the country, Ethiopia supports the pro-TFG Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa. The activities of these parties have affected humanitarian assistance in virtually all areas despite the ongoing famine.

“It is a daily battle to provide humanitarian assistance in Al Shabaab held areas. Even in areas that have been captures by TFG, the human rights situation has not improved,” said Ms Ghoshal, while launching the report, You Don’t Know Who to Blame

She emphasized that the UN, AU, EU and US which support the TFG financially should set out clear benchmarks for improving respect for international human rights and accountability.

The major culprit is the Al-Shabaab that continues to carry out public beheadings and flogging, and forceful recruitment of adults and children. Similarly, the population in areas controlled by TFG and its allies has been subjected to arbitrary arrests and detention, restrictions on free speech and assembly and indiscriminate attacks.

In Mogadishu, Amisom has for months been accused of shelling civilian populated areas while returning the Al Shabaab mortars. But Amisom has always insisted that it is the Al Shabaab that launches attacks from residential areas forcing them to return immediate fire.

However, the TFG spokesperson, Abdirahman Omar Osman, refuted the allegations arguing that everybody knows that Al-Shabaab is responsible for human rights violations in Somalia.

“It is with great regret that we receive these allegations, especially without being given us the opportunity to respond before the publication. The Somali people, especially those in Mogadishu, know that their soldiers never knowingly place them in danger.

He said Somalia had fulfilled its international obligation by submitting a National Report on the human rights situation in the country to the UN Human Rights Council in May.

However, Mr Osman offered that the Somali government will investigate these allegations and all perpetrators will be held accountable for their actions.

Mr Mitchel observed that the withdrawal of Al Shabaab has given a chance to the TFG to stabilise the situation in terms of justice and security.

He hopes that the Somali government will now institute a political process involving dialogue that will culminate in elections in a year’s time.

By FRED OLUOCH, The East African

Meles Zenawi to visit Egypt

Filed under: Egypt,Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 10:14 pm
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SOURCE:Ahram Online
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has announced that the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawy is planning to visit Cairo in September. Zenawy’s visit was originally planned for July but was cancelled due to the escalating protests at the time. …
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August 27, 2011

Latest from Wikileaks on Ethiopia

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 10:08 pm
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For the latest releases please Go to……….

Embassy cables:Al Amoudi’s Mines release toxic chemical waste in to river

VZCZCXRO9723
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDS #0370/01 0531335
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221335Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7864
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ADDIS ABABA 000370

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS:
TAGS:
SUBJECT: ENVIRONMENTAL ALLEGATIONS GENERATE PROTESTS, MASS ARRESTS

SUMMARY
——-
¶1. (SBU) Residents of Shakiso Wereda accuse Laga Dembi Mine, owned
by billionaire Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi, of releasing toxic
chemical waste into a nearby river, causing illness to people and
animals in the area. Local residents and students submitted a
petition to the local government arguing that a second gold mine
should not be given to MIDROC before it cleans the toxic waste that
it has released from Lega Dembi, and the company brings benefits to
the community. Local government officials, who were allegedly
instructed by federal authorities to halt an ongoing investigation
into the toxic dumping, resorted to mass arrests of the protesters.
According to Members of Parliament (MPs) from Guji and Borena Zones
of Oromiya region, over 100 people remain detained in Yabello prison
awaiting trial, and opposition political party members and
candidates were specifically targeted. According to Human Rights
groups and MPs, the whereabouts of three university students and two
political leaders is unknown. End Summary.

Local Residents Accuse MIDROC of Dumping
Toxic Chemicals at Mine
——————————————-
¶2. (U) Beginning in December 2009, residents of Shakiso Wereda
(Oromiya Region) accused Laga Dembi Mine of releasing toxic chemical
waste into a nearby river, causing illness to people and animals in
the area. (Note: According to Demboba Boku, Member of Parliament
for the area, several local experts found evidence of dangerously
high mercury levels in the water. However, Post has not reviewed
scientific or medical analysis examining the correlation between
chemicals from the mine and human and animal health. End note.) On
December 3, 2009 students from Shakiso town submitted a petition to
Wereda officials detailing the adverse effects of noxious chemicals
released by the gold mine on the health of the community. They
further protested that the mine owner harvested gold from their
land, but did not invest in the development of the community. Most
of the mine’s employees are brought in from other regions, while
employment from the local community is minimal.

¶3. (SBU) Guji Zone and Shakiso Wereda administrators told the
students they would study the situation and respond on December 16.
According to parliamentarian Demboba (of the opposition Oromo
Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM) party), officials of the
federal and regional governments pressured local officials to nip
the budding dissent. Students and residents who went to hear the
response from their local leaders on December 16 were surrounded by
federal and local police. Demboba said a student “planted” by local
officials stood up from the crowd and said, “We residents of Shakiso
Wereda are sick and tired of officials of the Oromo Peoples’
Democratic organization (OPDO). The current local officials should
hand over office to more capable groups that could bring development
to our Wereda.” Immediately after the inflammatory statement by the
student, police reportedly started beating people gathered there and
arrested Assefa Arure, Guji Zone OFDM coordinator, and Dulecha Robe,
OFDM member. The whereabouts of the two are still not known.
According to Demboba, the arrests continued and on December 18, over
100 OFDM and Oromo Peoples’ Congress members and sympathizers were
arrested.

Background on Sheikh Al Amoudi’s
Lega Dembi Gold Mine
——————————–
¶4. (U) Lega Dembi Gold Mine is owned by Mohammed International
Development, Research Companies (MIDROC), a company owned by
billionaire Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi, believed to be the largest
foreign investor in Ethiopia. It is the only active industrial gold
mine in Ethiopia. On November 24, 2009 MIDROC signed a 10-year
agreement with the Ministry of Mines and Energy for the extraction
of 20,483 kg. of gold from the Sakaro area, three kilometers from
the existing Lega Dembi gold belt in the Guji Zone of the Oromiya
Regional State. Gold is Ethiopia’s major mineral, and the
government is counting on a six-fold increase in production. MIDROC
has reportedly earned USD 466 million from Lega Dembi mine since
¶1998. The granting of Sakaro Gold Mines to MIDROC in the midst of
allegations of pollution and lack of community involvement at Laga
Dembi angered residents of Shakiso Wereda.

¶5. (U) The office of the Chief Executive of MIDROC on its website
advertizes its contribution to the development of the Lega Dembi
Community by financing the Shakiso Clean Water Project, but
residents of Shakiso disagree. Demboba Boku told PE FSN that the
multi-million dollar company did not invest in the community.

Police Allegedly Refused to Respect

ADDIS ABAB 00000370 002 OF 003

Bail Order from Court
————————————-
¶6. (SBU) Demboba Boku told Poloff and P/E FSN that only eight of the
over one hundred detainees appeared at Shakiso Wereda Court on Dec.
¶18. Police requested 14 days of investigation time, which the court
granted. The eight detainees appeared in court for the second time
on January 1. The police asked for a second 14-day extension to
further investigate the case. The Court did not grant the
extension. Instead, the court decided to release all eight
detainees on bail. According to Demboba, police defied the court
order and continued to keep the eight individuals in detention.
Demboba added that the court had not taken any measures against the
police who defied the court’s orders. In an interview with the
international press, Government of Ethiopia (GoE) spokesman Shimelis
Kemal dismissed the allegations that students and residents of
Shakiso were unjustly detained. Shimelis said the disturbances were
fomented by rebels from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and the
innocence or guilt of the detainees would be decided by a court of
law.

Over 100 Protestors Remain in Detention
—————————————

¶7. (SBU) Dembela Halekie, Member of Parliament from OPC representing
Hageremariam Wereda, Borena Zone of Oromiya Region told PE FSN the
eight defendants whose right to bail was rejected by police and over
100 other detainees are currently jailed in Yabello Prison, Borena
Zone. According to Dembela, all detainees will appear before a
roving Supreme Court and will answer to charges of fomenting an
uprising to disrupt peace and stability. Dembela did not know the
trial date.

¶8. (SBU) According to Demboba, eight OFDM candidates for the Federal
Parliament and four candidates for the Regional Council are among
the 100 detained by police. OFDM reported the case to the National
Electoral Board of Ethiopia, but received no response. OFDM was
forced to register new candidates in place of those of those
detained.

The Whereabouts of Three Students and
Two Party Leaders is Unknown
—————————————
¶9. (SBU) On January 8, Human Rights League for the Horn of Africa
(HRLHA) reported that three students from Awassa University were
arrested by the Federal Police on January 5 and January 6 in
connection with the riot in Shakiso Wereda, Guji Zone of Oromiya
Region. The three Awassa University students who are natives of
Shakiso are: Nega Gezaw, Dhaba Gire and Jatani Wario. Demboba told
Poloff and PE FSN that the three students were not physically
present in Shakiso during the riot, but police picked them up from
Awassa town for alleged involvement in the riot. According to HRLHA
and Demboba, the whereabouts of the three students is unknown.
Similarly, the whereabouts of Assefa Arure and Dulecha Robe, both
members OFDM are still unknown.

Residents Not Impressed by Officials
and Mine Owner Visit
————————————–
¶10. (U) According to Demboba, Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi, owner of
MIDROC, Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of Mines and Energy, and Aba Dula
Gemeda, President of Oromiya Region visited Shakiso on January 20 to
appease the community. Sheikh Al Amoudi granted 15 million Birr
(USD 1,125,000) for the 15 Weredas in Guji Zone to be used for
community development. According to Demboba, handpicked residents
attended the meeting and thanked the visitors for the attention they
gave to their community. Demboba said the majority of residents —
who did not attend the meeting — were unimpressed by the visit and
donation, and characterized it as “too little, too late.” According
to Demboba, the community continues to demand the immediate release
of their loved ones and the cleanup of toxic waste generated by Lega
Dembi Gold Mine before MIDROC is granted rights to Sakaro Gold Mine.

Comment
——-
¶11. (SBU) Genuine grass-roots opposition to hazardous pollution on
the part of Ethiopia’s largest investor appears to have fomented in
Shakiso Wereda. Local authorities’ willingness to launch an
investigation into Lega Dembi’s environmental practices has clearly
evaporated, and MP Demboba’s allegation that they have been ordered
by federal officials to “make the problem go away” is entirely
believable. While Demboba’s allegation that the arrest of
protestors was a form of political party harassment is congruent

ADDIS ABAB 00000370 003 OF 003

with broader trends Post has observed, Demboba provided little
evidence of his claims. Neither Demboba nor other community leaders
appear to have developed a strategy for highlighting this issue.
With community members rightfully frightened by the mass arrests of
peaceful demonstrators, this case will only attract further
attention if Demboba or other high-ranking officials make it their
own. End comment.

YATES

August 25, 2011

Babies For Sale In Ethiopia

Has anyone ever asked movie star Angelina Jolie how much she paid for the Ethiopian baby she adopted? Or should I say how much she “donated”, most of which ended up in the hands of the national crime syndicate known as the Government of Ethiopia.

For several years now just about anyone has been able to buy a baby in Ethiopia, you know what I mean, “adopt”? It costs about $30,000, Cash. Some reports say over 3,000 are sold…adopted, every year.

It has turned into a major cash flow for the Godfathers of the Ethiopian “government”. Do the math, 3,000 X $30,000 X 5 years = almost a half a billion dollars, requiring more and more London bank accounts to be set up to be stuffed chock full of some very sick money.

When you buy…adopt, a baby in Ethiopia there is a good chance that the baby isn’t an orphan, though it is usually standard language in all the deeds of sale/adoption papers that such is the case. With millions of Ethiopians once again famine stricken, selling babies has become a way to survive. Though of the $30,000 as little as $1,000 makes it through the hands of the Ethiopian mafia to the babies families.

If one as been reading the pages of this and other websites willing to publish what is really going on in Ethiopia, you will know that Ethiopia is committing genocide by enforcing a food aid blockade against the ethnic Somalis in the Ethiopian Ogaden during the worst drought in 60 years. So why should selling babies come as a shock?

Angelina Jolie and adopted daughter Source: angelinajolieadoptions.wordpress.com

Angelina Jolie should come clean and tell the world what she really “donated” to get her little Ethiopian girl. Somehow though I wont hold my breath for it wasn’t that long ago that Ms. Jolie was calling for the USA to declare war and invade Sudan. Buy an African baby from Ethiopia and then bomb some African villages in next door neighbor Sudan, its Hollyweird isn’t it?

The UN is even weirder though. With Ethiopia committing genocide in the Ogaden, the UN inSecurity Council is talking about passing even more damaging sanctions against…next door neighbor Eritrea?

The saying goes in this part of Africa “all roads to peace in the Horn of Africa run through Asmara [Eritrea]…” and there is one thing the USA and its cheerleaders in Hollywood are dead set against and that is peace breaking out in Africa.

With the UN there to enforce the Law of the Jungle, only the strong survive. And survivors, especially those that won’t kneel down at the masters feet, have to be made examples of. Or at least it has to look that way so tougher sanctions against Eritrea is the USA’s demand.

So buy a baby in Ethiopia and support genocide. And don’t forget to declare war and start bombing Sudan. In the mean time, get busy and start enforcing even tougher sanctions against Eritrea.

Either that, or better yet, make sure no one even hears about all of this, business as usual, you know, with none the wiser?

August 24, 2011

Ethiopian media hit by new anti-terrorism law

Filed under: Uncategorized — ethiopiantimes @ 7:51 pm
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Ethiopia’s tightly-controlled media is not particularly known for sticking its neck out on controversial issues, but a new law recently passed by an overwhelmingly government-controlled parliament has had top executives wringing their hands over its potential ramifications.

The law expressly bans any form of communication with groups designated as terrorist organisations, including reporting even a press release or interviewing their members.

According to the spirit of the law, any such act will be considered as disseminating terror-related information and the publisher of any such article can be jailed.

Addis Ababa journalists and newspaper owners remain confused as to how to treat the new law which was endorsed in 2009 but has only become effective now.

It is an indictment of the environment that exists in the country that some publishers were afraid of being quoted on their views, saying they preferred not to “quarrel with the government”, even as the law clearly seems restrictive.

Dawit Kebede, a CPJ award winner and editor-in-chief of one of the country’s remaining political newspapers, Awramba Times, says the law provides a pretext for the government to intimidate and even arrest journalists who fall afoul of its wording.

Kebede said the regulations were a government campaign to oppress all forms of dissident activity.

20-year prison sentence

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says the law makes it difficult for Ethiopian reporters to cover the activities of opposition figures and rebels without risking prosecution and a 20-year prison sentence

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