CLOSE

Ethiopian court clears Zone9 bloggers

Ethiopian court clears Zone9 bloggers

Charges of terrorism were dropped today against four of the remaining ‘Zone9‘ bloggers in Ethiopia who had been charged with promoting terrorism through their reporting. Along with five others who were released in July, they had been detained since April 2014. All are now free except for Befeqadu Hailu, who still faces charges of inciting violence.

The Zone9 bloggers’ collective described itself as “an informal group of young Ethiopian bloggers working together to create an alternative independent narration of the socio-political conditions in Ethiopia”. It had become one of Ethiopia’s leading spaces for campaigning on free speech and constitutional rights.

In April 2014, following months of government harassment and surveillance, members of the blog were arrested under Ethiopia’s draconian anti-terror laws, along with three reporters. Their homes were searched and their laptops and other items confiscated.

Their arrests followed the imprisonment of dozens of human rights activists as well as journalists, including award-winning Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu – all under anti-terror legislation. In July 2015, following a sustained legal and advocacy campaign as part of which MLDI submitted complaints for the bloggers and journalists to various international human rights tribunals, five of the Zone9 group were freed, as well as journalist Reeyot Alemu.

While MLDI welcomes today’s acquittal, we remain extremely concerned at the abuse of Ethiopia’s anti-terror legislation to crack down on independent bloggers and journalists. We note that Eskinder Nega

, whom we represent before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, remains imprisoned, and we will continue to advocate for his release as well as the release of Befeqadu Hailu.

Recent News

We’re Hiring: Grants Officer

Grants Officer     London, Greater London (On-site) £34,000 – £40,000 per year Full-time Permanent About Media Defence Media Defence is a charity that helps journalists defend their rights. We support independent media, journalists and bloggers who are under legal threat by making sure that lawyers are available to defend them. We engage in strategic […]

Read

Call for Consultants: Update of Training Materials on Freedom of Expression in South and Southeast Asia

Purpose of the consultancy contract This is a call for consultants to review and update eleven existing training modules on freedom of expression in South and Southeast Asia. Background Media Defence’s vision is a world where journalists no longer face legal challenges that threaten their ability to report freely and independently on issues of public […]

Read

Media Defence et l’Impact Lab pour l’Etat de droit de Stanford Law School saisissent la Cour de justice de la CEDEAO contre les coupures d’internet ordonnées par l’Etat sénégalais

Le recours au nom d’AfricTivistes et de deux journalistes sénégalais vise à obtenir des mesures provisoires pour empêcher de nouvelles coupures d’Internet   READ IN ENGLISH   Dakar, le 13 février 2024 – Media Defence et le Rule of Law Impact Lab de la Stanford Law School ont déposé un recours devant la Cour de justice […]

Read