ETHIOPIA: Journalist charged with contempt over caption critical of judiciary

JANUARY 11, 2007
Posted February 6, 2007

Olurotimi Akanbi, Addis Fortune

Akanbi, a copy editor for the private English-language business weekly Addis Fortune in the capital Addis Ababa, was charged with contempt of court in connection with a December 31, 2006, headline critical of the Ethiopian judiciary, according to CPJ sources. The headline, “Delayed Again,” referred to the numerous delays in the 12-year trial of leaders of the ousted Derg regime of former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, the editor told CPJ. Two weeks earlier, Akanbi said, he had written an editorial focusing on delays in the case.

On January 23, a court dropped the headline charge, issued the paper a warning, and ordered it to publish an apology, according to CPJ sources.

On December 12, 2006, Ethiopia’s High Court convicted officials of the former Derg regime on charges related to atrocities committed during the 1977-78 “Red Terror,” when tens of thousands of people were killed.