See also:
» 19.03.2011 - Ethiopia crackdown on opposition to prevent protests
» 16.02.2011 - US cable: Ethiopia govt terrified by ONLF rebels
» 19.10.2010 - "Ethiopia abused aid to bribe voters"
» 07.10.2010 - Ethiopia urged to free all political prisoners
» 28.05.2010 - Conflict over Ethiopia election results
» 24.05.2010 - Ethiopian poll met with scepticism
» 22.12.2009 - Five sentenced to death and 33 to life
» 08.12.2009 - RSF condemns closure of newspaper in Ethiopia

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Ethiopia's free election promise, hot and cold

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

© G Diana/FAO/afrol News
afrol News, 13 April
- Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is promising a fair two-faced democratic dispensation, with one side looking smooth and polished and the other rough and thorny.

Mr Zenawi told parliament that the government is committed to make the upcoming national election free and fair, democratic and peaceful, while on the other hand threatening opposition parties that withdrew from polls of consequences.

He strongly warned those opposition political parties who do not want to participate in the upcoming national election peacefully that they will face a severe consequence, further adding that the only option in Ethiopia nowadays is running political agendas peacefully and legally.

During his brief to the parliament, he also made a reminder that various political players have laid down for democratic and peaceful election, saying it was crucial for the agreement, especially on the code of conduct to be signed. He further warned that even those who did not sign the code of conduct were bound by the law.

Despite assurances by Prime Minister Zenawi, Ethiopia is well-known for its restrictions especially on the opposition voices and media.

In 2007, the Ethiopian High Court had to intervene following general amnesty for journalists who were facing fines or jail terms for publishing what was deemed against the state.

The four publishing houses were shut down in 2005 during a notorious post-election crackdown on the political opposition and the independent press. Their owners, Ms Fasil, Mr Eskinder, Mr Agena, Mr Tesfaye and Mr Yenealem, were jailed along with several other journalists, on charges ranging from genocide to subverting the constitution. Ms Fasil gave birth to her child while in jail.

The publishers were acquitted in 2007; however, the editors from their publications were sentenced to life in prison, and fines were imposed against the publishing houses. Later that year, the editors were freed and the fines dropped under a presidential amnesty. Since then, all of the imprisoned editors have left the country and are living in exile.

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