U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
July 14, 2012
STATEMENT BY VICTORIA NULAND, SPOKESPERSON
Ethiopian Court’s Sentencing in Anti-Terrorism Trial
The United States remains deeply concerned about the trial, conviction, and sentencing of Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega, as well as seven political opposition figures, under the country's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. The sentences handed down today, including 18 years for Eskinder and life imprisonment for the opposition leader Andualem Arage, are extremely harsh and reinforce our serious questions about the politicized use of Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law in this and other cases.
The Ethiopian government has used the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to jail journalists and opposition party members for peacefully exercising their freedoms of expression and association. This practice raises serious concerns about the extent to which Ethiopians can rely upon their constitutionally guaranteed rights to afford the protection that is a fundamental element of a democratic society.
We reiterate our call for the Government of Ethiopia to stop stifling freedom of expression and we urge the release of those who have been imprisoned for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms.