Amnesty International says journalists, opposition arrested for their legitimate and peaceful criticism of the government

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16 December 2011

* Amnesty International releases a research report entitled “Dismantling Dissent: Intensified crackdown on free speech in Ethiopia ” 

De Birhan Media 

Amnesty International in its media advisory released today (15-11-2011) stated all the journalists and opposition members cited in its report, of whom by November, 107 of these detainees were charged on the basis of alleged involvement with terrorist groups were arrested primarily because of their legitimate and peaceful criticism of the government.

“The scale of arrests and prosecutions are indicative of a new level of repression and send a chilling message to opposition politicians and journalists in Ethiopia – self censor or risk incarceration,” Amnesty International’s Ethiopia researcher, Claire Beston said.

The rights Group also stated that many of the detainees complained, including in court, that they experienced torture in detention, interrogation, self incrimination, denied access to lawyers and family members in the initial stages of detention. It also stated that the trials have become deeply politicized owing to the interest of senior government officials including the Prime Minister who declared in the national parliament that all the defendants are guilty who publicly threatened to carry out further arrests

Amnesty International emphasized that it believes the individuals would not receive a fair trial and would be convicted for exercising their right to freedom of expression thus systematic trial monitoring was essential. 

Meanwhile, AI  also released a reserach report “Dismantling Dissent: Intensified crackdown on free speech in Ethiopia”, which provided a comprehensive analysis of the arrests, charges and pre-trial proceedings. 

The report has over 40 pages and is divided into four parts.
The full report can be accessed  Here.