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  • A campaign in social networks supports the release of the political bloggers

    A campaign in social networks supports the release of the political bloggers | Photo: Special

Published 9 August 2014

The trial of three journalists and nine bloggers who have been charged wtih plotting to destabilize the nation, has been delayed again to August 20.

The group of young Ethiopian bloggers write mostly about politics and social issues, and often criticize their government. 

"We blog because we care," is the motto of their collective, Zone Nine.

Nine members of the collected were detained in April by Ethiopian special forces, and charged with terrorism. Their hearing was planned for this week, but has been postponed again to August 20.

"They were trained in how to make explosives and planned to train others," judge Tareke Alemayehu alleged to the court, adding that the collective was a "front for a plot to destabilize the nation".

Human rights activists, both in Ethiopia and abroad, dismissed the terrorism charges and described the imprisonment as a  "clear attack on freedom of speech".

Human Rights Watch (HRW) deputy Africa director, Leslie Lefkow, thinks Ethiopia is making “a mockery of it’s own legal system,” and added, "Hiding behind an abusive anti-terrorism law to persecute bloggers and journalists for doing their jobs is an affront to the Ethiopian constitution,".

The organization says that Ethiopia´s anti-terrorism laws are only being used to silence dissent and jail critics. Under the law, and along with the bloggers, several journalist have been jailed, including two Swedish ones jailed for 11 years in 2012, and whom were pardoned after serving 15 months. 

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