Ethiopia: Terrorism Verdict for Facebook Posts is a Shameful Affront to Freedom of Expression
(All Africa) — In response to news that former Ethiopian opposition spokesman Yonatan Tesfaye has been found guilty of “encouragement of terrorism” in connection with his posts on Facebook, Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:
“Today’s verdict is a miscarriage of justice. It is yet another example of how the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation is used to target and destroy people who criticize the government. All Yonatan did was express himself online. This is not a crime, yet he now faces up to 20 years in jail under this draconian and deeply-flawed law.
“This ruling is a shameful affront to people’s right to express themselves and further entrenches repression in Ethiopia.”
Yonatan, a former senior official in the opposition Semayawi (Blue) Party, was arbitrarily arrested in December 2015 for comments he posted on Facebook, in which he criticized the government’s response to protests in the Oromia region.
He will be sentenced on 25 May.