Almost forgotten has been the case of more than 100 Oromo political activists

(Oromedia, 30/05/2012) – Ethiopian Govt Spokesperson Says Oromo Political Prisoners Shouldn’t Be Called “Oromo”.

Referring to the the case of more than 100 forgotten Oromo political prisoners in Oromiyaa, VOA’s Peter Heinlein reports on his May 17, 2012 coverage that  “in Ethiopia, a series of high-profile trials is being closely watched as a test of recently-enacted anti-terrorism legislation.”

A three-judge federal panel is hearing the trials of as many as 150 people arrested on terrorism-related charges last year, including prominent politicians and journalists.Almost every week for the past few months, a small group of journalists and diplomats has  gathered at Addis Ababa’s Lideta federal court complex to attend terrorism trials.

The most high-profile is the case of journalist Eskinder Nega, recent winner of the PEN America “Freedom to Write” Award, and Andualem Arage, who had been one of the rising stars in Ethiopia’s political opposition.  They are accused of collaborating with the outlawed Ginbot Seven (May 15th) political party to carry out terrorist attacks.

U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald Booth was in the courtroom last week when a verdict in the case was due, but the judges postponed the announcement till mid-June, saying they needed more time.

Among the other trials before the court was the case of two Swedish journalists captured in the restive Ogaden region in the company of members of the outlawed Ogaden National Liberation Front, or ONLF.  The journalists were convicted of supporting terrorism, and given 11-year prison terms.

In another case, the deputy editor of a now-defunct independent newspaper and a columnist for another paper were convicted of plotting terrorist acts.  Both received long sentences.

Then there is the case of a senior United Nations security official who played a key role last year in negotiating the release of two World Food Program employees abducted in the Ogaden.  Shortly after the release, the U.N. officer was arrested and charged with having ties to the ONLF.

–Full Document Oromedia

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