2 Radio Bilal journalists sentenced within Ethiopia on terror charges

This posting is an important update by the Committee to protect journalists and the freedom of the press worldwide:

New York, The month of january 4, 2017–The Committee to Protect Media today condemned the prison content handed down to two journalists through the Ethiopian faith-based station Radio Bilal. Khalid Mohamed and Darsema Sori were sentenced yesterday to jail terms of five years plus six months and four years plus five months respectively, the self-employed news website Addis Standard reported.

Khalid, the news editor, and Darsema, the senior editor at Radio Bilal, were convicted at a December twenty one hearing of inciting extremist ideology and planning to overthrow the government via their coverage of Muslim protests about government interference in spiritual affairs, based on reports . The two journalists, who have been within custody since their February 2015 arrest, were convicted under Ethiopia’s 2009 anti-terrorism law, alongside eighteen other defendants, according to news reviews that cited the charge linen. Their co-accused were also sentenced yesterday as part of the same mass test, the Addis Regular reported.

“These harsh sentences are the most recent evidence of the Ethiopian government’s hatred to free expression and the correct of journalists to do their work opportunities without fear of censorship or criminal arrest, ” said CPJ’s Africa plan coordinator, Angela Quintal. “Khalid Mohamed and Darsema Sori are media, not terrorists. They should be freed instantly. ”

Separately, a good Ethiopian court denied bail the other day to Getachew Shiferaw, the editor-in-chief of online newspaper Negere Ethiopia that has been in prison since December 2015, Ethiopian activists who are monitoring their case told CPJ. His test has been postponed to February fourteen. Last month a court decreased his charge from terrorism in order to inciting subversion, according to local rights groups plus activists .

Three journalists were among 16 locked up in Ethiopia for their work at time of CPJ’s 2016 prison census , which found the country to be one of the top five worst jailers of media worldwide.

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