(EFJA/IFEX) - The former editor-in-chief of the private Amharic monthly magazine "Tobia" has been fined 12,000 Birr (about US$1500).
On 17 October 2000, the Second Criminal Bench of the Federal High Court sentenced Taye Belachew on charges of spreading false charges against the government and arousing hatred against the Tigrigna-speaking people. As is common, Articles 10/1, 10/2 and 20/1 of Press Proclamation no. 34/92 and Article 480 of the Penal Code were cited for the charge.
The two articles published in the monthly journal ("Tobia", vol. 4 no 11 and 12), both of which were opinion pieces, were entitled "The strategy for the Re-unification of Mereb Melash (Eritrea) with Ethiopia", by Professor Tilahun Yilma, and "The Root of All sprouted from this land", by Tsegaye Gebre Medihin Araya.
The former editor-in-chief was held in the Central Investigation Department Prison for seventy-seven days without charge for the same issue.
Send appeals to authorities:
- suggesting that the payment of Birr 12,000 decided by the court against Belachew is unjust and unfair, and requesting his release
- calling attention to the cases of the twenty-six members of the free press, including those imprisoned journalists whose cases are pending in court, so that they may be given governmental attention
H.E. Ato Meles Zenawi
Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Fax: +251 1 55 20 20
H. E. Ato Worede Wold Wolde
Minister of Justice
Fax: +251 1 55 07 22
Please copy appeals to the source if possible.