Ethiopia to charge 121 prisoners with terrorism
April. 07 2011
Ethiopia's government on Thursday said it was preparing to charge more than 100 prisoners with terrorism and dismissed calls by a rights groups to release them immediately.
The government said it had arrested 121 people in March and accused them of being members of the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) rebel group.
Campaign group Human Rights Watch said the arrests were part of a government crackdown on opposition campaigners from Ethiopia's Oromo ethnic group.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is Washington's closest ally in the Horn of Africa but has come under increasing criticism from rights groups accusing him of crushing dissent.
Opposition officials in the capital Addis Ababa who did not want to be named told Reuters they suspected the arrests were motivated by government fear of a public uprising.
Ethiopia's government defended the arrests and said there was no limit to how long the suspects could be held as long as they were regularly remanded by the courts.