Aregawi, owner of the defunct Amharic-language newspaper Hadar, was arrested in a crackdown that followed the civil unrest in November 2005. He was jailed in Kality Prison in Addis Ababa. Aregawi, who inherited Hadar from his father, was charged in March along with 32 other defendants with conspiracy and “outrages against the constitution,” state prosecutor Shemelis Kemal confirmed to CPJ in July. He pleaded not guilty and was denied bail. The charge against Aregawi stemmed from articles published in Hadar about the disputed elections, Kemal said. The prosecutor could not say if there were further charges against Aregawi.
Aregawi and the 32 charged with him were being tried separately from the dozens of opposition leaders, activists, and journalists who were charged in December 2005 and put on trial for wide-ranging antistate crimes and attempted “genocide.” Kemal said the “nature of the crime” was the same. Aregawi is accused of publishing “seditious” articles as part of an alleged opposition plot to overthrow the government, the prosecutor told CPJ, adding that “different people with different capacities have been involved in the same grand design.”