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Ethiopian PM Defends Anti-Terror Law

Tigrai Online
Feb. 09, 2012

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi presenting a six-month performance report -Feb 8, 2012

Ethiopia has launched a vigorous defense of an anti-terrorism law that has been used to imprison journalists and opposition politicians. The law's critics call it an effective tool for silencing dissent.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Wednesday lashed out at human rights and press freedom groups that have criticized implementation of Ethiopia's anti-terrorism law.

Answering questions on the floor of parliament, Mr. Meles accused Western monitoring groups of harboring anti-Ethiopian biases that lead them to conclude the law is being misused for political purposes.

He used as an example the case of two Swedish journalists who were arrested in the company of rebels the government classifies as terrorists.

“The government gave a small statement that such people have been put [in] prison," he said. "The next day the campaign was launched, 'Free press, innocent people with no issue at all!'  They just give pronouncements before the case has gone to court, before evidence has been heard.  The pronouncement was there; the government is the criminal and the people are innocent.”

An Ethiopian court later convicted the two Swedes of supporting terrorism and sentenced them to 11 years in prison.  Mr. Meles hinted that the pair might be freed, saying, “We would consider clemency, if the culprits admit their guilt."

Source VOA News, Read more

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