Award winning journalist, who has been arrested for over eight times in relation to his work, now serving 18 years sentence in Kaliti prison, Eskender Nega, will be a defense witness of De Birhan‘s co-blogger Zelalem Workagegnehu and his two colleagues on Wednesday 27 January, 2016 at the Lideta Federal High Court, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.
Eskinder Nega is expected to defend our co-blogger Zelalem Workagegnehu and his two colleagues Yonatan Wolde and Bahiru Degu, who were charged with applying for a online security, communication and leadership training three years ago. The course never took place. Eskinder is expected to give a professional testimony regarding the nature of such courses.
It is to be recalled that after verbal debates if Eskinder could be a defense witness of Zelalem, the judge finally decided on December 30, 2015 that Eskinder can be a defense witness of our co-blogger. But due to time shortage, the judge had adjourned the hearing for January 27, 2016.
Eskinder Nega, an Ethiopian citizen, who is also a permanent resident of the U.S., who returned to his native Ethiopian over 20 years ago to start newspaper business having been convinced that the current regime’s promise of free press and expression was not skin deep. However, Eskinder remains to be the only Ethiopian journalist in the nations history, who has been arrested more than eight times within 20 years and serving one of the longest sentences handed to an Ethiopian journalist, 18 years.
Zelalem Workagenehu, co-blogg
er of De Birhan Blog, was initially charged in October 2014 with being the local leader of Ginbot 7, conspiring violent revolution with his friends (such as this writer), writing and sending reports that appeared on Diaspora based websites such as this article he
wrote in 2011 using his pen name, receiving money from abroad to recruit members for Ginbot 7, and facilitating asocial media and communication related training course with his friends.
However, the court dropped most of the charges and now he is defending two charges, which are receiving money (10, 000 birr) from abroad to recruit members for the opposition Ginbot 7 and facilitating the social media training.