Sign up for weekly updates


Ethiopia has pardoned and freed 34 opposition members and four journalists who had been convicted last week for their links to deadly 2005 protests against alleged poll-rigging, say Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) and news reports. But two Ethiopian journalists initially sentenced to life remain in jail.

On 20 July, two of the four editors, Andualem Ayele of "Ethiop" and Mesfin Tesfaye of "Abay", who were sentenced to life in prison for inciting violence, received pardons. Also pardoned were "Asqual" editor Wenakseged Zeleke, who was originally sentenced to three years in jail, and deputy editor Dawit Fassil of "Satanaw", who got 18 months, says RSF. According to news reports, the 38 defendants had signed a government statement admitting to organising violent election protests in 2005 and asking for clemency.

Two other journalists who were given life sentences in absentia - "Menilik" editor Zelalem Guebre and "Netsanet" editor Abey Gizaw - have so far not been included in the pardon.

RSF says, "Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has taken account of the international community's appeals but he made the release of these prisoners conditional on their signing an 'apology to the Ethiopian people' for the 'mistakes made in November 2005'." RSF says the case will not be over until Guebre and Gizaw are also cleared.

Visit these links:
- "IFEX Communiqué" on sentencing:
- "IFEX Communiqué" on convictions in June:
- RSF:
- BBC:
(24 July 2007)

Latest Tweet:

#Egypte: @ShawkanZeid toujours en prison, trois mois après la fin de sa peine #FreeShawkan

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.