Ethiopians demonstrate against anti-terrorism law -Press TV

Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:28PM
Coletta Wanjohi, Press TV, Addis Ababa

Ethiopians have taken to the streets of Addis Ababa to demonstrate against their government. The protest led by opposition members called for a review of the government’s anti terrorism law. The protesters see the law as an attempt to silence dissent. Press TV’s Coletta Wanjohi reports from Addis Ababa.

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Ethiopians have taken to the streets of the capital Addis Ababa. They’ve protested what they termed as an intentional move by the government to criminalize them through the anti-terrorism law. The protesters claim that only citizens who have expressed opinions against the government have been subject to the law since it was adopted in 2009.

The New York-based independent Committee to Protect Journalists says more than 10 journalists have been charged under Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law, and that the country has the highest number of exiled journalists in the world.

Human Rights Watch has also expressed concerns over the law for what it calls the overly broad definition of “terrorist acts.”

The law’s provisions on support for terrorism contain a vague prohibition on “moral support” under which journalists have been convicted. Since 2011, eleven journalists have reportedly been convicted. The protesters demand that the government redefines who a terrorist is.

The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed in the Ethiopian constitution, with the government maintaining that it is not against its own people’s expression of their constitutional rights.

In November 2012, Ethiopia was appointed to the United Nations Human Rights Council — a move that makes it have a higher task of committing to uphold the highest standards of human rights at home and internationally. Such frequent protests by its own citizens seem to be suggesting that the government still has a lot to do to live up to this respected position.

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