In Eskinder case, politicized verdict undermines Ethiopia

New York, May 2, 2013—In response to today’s ruling by Ethiopia’s Supreme Court to uphold an 18-year prison sentence imposed on award-winning journalist Eskinder Nega and reject his appeal, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement: 

“This ruling trivializes the serious crime of terrorism, upholds a politically motivated travesty of justice, and lessens Ethiopia’s international standing,” CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita said. “As a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Ethiopia should comply with its obligations under international law and its own constitution and release Eskinder unconditionally. The persecution of Eskinder and other journalists is the hallmark of a regime fearful of the opinions of its citizens.”

Eskinder has been jailed on trumped-up terrorism charges since September 2011. A U.N. panel determined his imprisonment to be in violation of international law and in reprisal for his “peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression.”