Africa News

Facebook posts fetch politician jail term

The Federal High Court on Thursday sentenced a prominent Ethiopian opposition politician to six years and six months for accusing the government of using disproportionate force against demonstrators.

Yonathan Tesfaye, a Former Public Relations Head of the Blue Party, one of the East African country’s main opposition parties was charged with stirring unrest and inciting terrorist acts.

He regularly posted statements on Facebook that criticised the government’s handling of protests which started in November 2015 in the Oromia region.

The Oromo people living in the region, which includes Addis Ababa, feel excluded from political and economic power.

The protests then spread elsewhere in the country.

Human rights groups said hundreds were killed during clashes and rioting which calmed down after the government imposed a state of emergency in October.

“The defendant has acted in a way that threatened the country’s political, economic and social fabric.

The sentencing came a day after journalist Getachew Shiferaw was found guilty of stirring “revolt.

“He faces a maximum of 10 years in jail,’’ the report quoted the charge sheet as saying.

Amnesty International said both Tesfaye and Shiferaw’s verdicts was “a further slap in the face for justice in Ethiopia.

It accused the authorities of using the judiciary to silence dissent. (dpa/NAN)

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