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FOUR JOURNALISTS PARDONED

Four jailed journalists were released on conditional pardon on Saturday along with 27 opposition activists, report the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF).

The four journalists of now defunct Amharic-language weeklies had been given heavy prison sentences last month in connection with their coverage of post-election unrest in 2005, which left more than 190 people dead.

Editors Wosonseged Gebrekidan of "Addis Zena", Dawit Kebede of "Hadar", Goshu Moges of "Lisane Hezeb", and freelance columnist Tadios Tantu had received prison terms ranging from four to 15 years after waiving their defence and pleading guilty in anticipation of a pardon. According to CPJ, they are the last members of Ethiopia's private press corps to be released in connection with the media's coverage of the election unrest.

An Ethiopian government spokesman told CPJ the journalists could resume their activities, but were forbidden from engaging in "any subversive action against the Constitution."

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

Visit these links:
- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/3bpds6
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=23161
(21 August 2007)

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