De Birhan Blog’s Co-blogger Zelalem Workagegnehu’s appeal, who has been sentenced by the Ethiopian court on May 10, 2016 to five years and two months, has been postponed to July 7, 2016.
The appeal will be heard from Zeway prison, where he is being kept using Plasma Television, Telecourt. The teleconference system is not popular among most prisoners because the trails often get interrupted due to ICT glitches and power outages.
Zelalem’s appeal was set to be heard last week but was postponed to July 6, 2016 for unknown reasons.
We have today learnt that it has again been postponed to Thursday due to the Muslim Eid holy day tomorrow.
Zelalem, a young writer, academic and human rights will mark two years in Ethiopian prisons on July 8, 2016.
The counts against Zelalem included leading a terrorist organization (which is how the government came to define Ginbot 7, a pro-democracy political party founded by Berhanu Nega), conspiring to overthrow the government, and disseminating false information through reports on websites run by the diaspora. For instance, one of Zelalem’s coauthors on the De Birhan Blog was also implicated in the case. But he was finally sentenced under the “supporting/participating in a terror group” count.
Campaigns for the release of Zelalem have been upped since he was charged.
PEN International started a Call for Action for Zelalem Workagegnehu last month through its Rapid Action Network. Everyone is asked to go to PEN’s WEBSITE and post the letter to the named officials and embassies across the world.
De Birhan along with various supporters will start the third phase of its campaign for the release of Zelalem Workagegnehu and similar prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia. We will publicize the details in due course.