Nairobi, December 21, 2016–Ethiopian radio journalists Khalid Mohammed and Darsema Sori, who have been imprisoned since February 2015, were today convicted on terrorism charges by the High Court’s 19th Criminal Bench, according to the independent Addis Standard newspaper.
The two journalists, news editor and senior editor, respectively, at the faith-based Radio Bilal, are accused of inciting extremist ideology and planning to overthrow the government in connection with their coverage of protests by Ethiopian Muslims. Sentencing was deferred to January 3, 2017. Eighteen Muslim leaders were also found guilty today, Addis Standard reported.
“Reporting on the significant Muslim community in Ethiopia is not an act of terrorism but journalism,” said Robert Mahoney, CPJ’s deputy executive director. “The prosecution and persecution of Khalid Mohammed and Darsema Sori and other independent journalists like them should stop immediately.”
Khalid and Darsema are two of 16 journalists imprisoned in Ethiopia according to CPJ’s 2016 prison census, which found the country to be among the top five worst jailers of journalists worldwide. An intensifying crackdown against the media has seen the arrest of a number of journalists, including bloggers, in recent months, according to CPJ research.