The Guardian – The following article is by Caelainn Barr of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. I am pleased to be publishing it here, though the contents are anything but pleasing.

The Ethiopian government is using sweeping anti-terror laws to crack down on journalists critical of the regime. In the last three months, six journalists have been imprisoned, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

They include two Swedish journalists – Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson – who were charged a fortnight ago with terrorism. The two men were arrested in early July after crossing from Puntland into Ethiopia’s troubled Ogaden region.

In the last two weeks Ethiopian security forces detained two Ethiopian journalists, Eskinder Nega and Sileshi Hagos. Ethiopian government spokesman Shimelis Kemal accused the journalists, of plotting “a series of terrorist acts that would likely wreak havoc.”

Two other Ethiopian journalists were detained over the summer and have been held on terror charges for writing articles criticising the government.

Wubishet Taye of the Arawamba Times and Reeyot Alaemu, a part-time columnist, are currently held in Maikelawi prison in Addis Ababa awaiting trial. They could face sentences of up to 20 years.

“In the past four months, authorities have used sweeping terrorism laws to detain six independent journalists in an attempt to wipe out the few critical voices left in the country,” said CPJ’s east Africa consultant, Tom Rhodes.

“If the authorities have credible evidence against any of these journalists, let them present it publicly. Otherwise, they must release them.”

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