Woyanne revives 2005 treason trial against journalists

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – It is now a little over a year since Ethiopia’s EPRDF Woyanne-led government triumphantly announced to the world that the post 2005 election crises has finally been overcome in the spirit of the new millennium’s rallying dictum of national reconciliation and renewal.

And yet it took the EPRDF Woyanne-led government less than two months after the millennium celebrations to rescind it’s much trumpeted rhetoric and refuse press licenses to independent journalists, illegally restricting the constitutional right to freedom of expression entrusted to all citizens.

But the EPRDF led government Woyanne tribal junta has not stooped there. In addition to making a mockery of the constitution it never tires of lauding, it has vengefully reopened the universally discredited treason trial of 2005 against the publishers of Ethiopia’s free press. As such, what were two of Ethiopia’s leading publishing houses, Sisay Publishing and Serkalem Publishing, have been served with court summons(Number 43246) to appear before the first criminal bench of the federal high court on December 24 2008. The summons details the request by the public prosecutor to seize all liquid and fixed assets of the owners of the publishing houses in an effort to collect fines imposed against them upon conviction in the much discredited and infamous treason trial of 2005.

The federal second criminal bench of the high court had dissolved the two publishing houses after imposing hefty fines against them, which was later revoked by a presidential pardon granted to all those charged and convicted in connection with the post 2005 election crises.

We call on the Ethiopian public and the international community to insist the EPRDF led government has the moral and legal obligation to stay committed to the post election crises settlement, which rests on the premise of the restoration of status-quo-ante, annulling the fines and allowing us to resume our work as journalists.

We would also like to reiterate that Serkalem Fasil,who is in Europe for a human rights campaign, will return to Ethiopia as scheduled, on December 15 2008, and face the court.

Sisay Agena, Serkalem Fasil, Eskinder Nega.
Addis Ababa.