NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – An advocacy group says the convictions in Ethiopia of 24 government opponents on terrorism and treason charges is a “dark day” for freedom of expression.
Amnesty International said that journalist Eskinder Nega and leading members of the political opposition were among those convicted on Wednesday. Amnesty said the evidence in court demonstrated peaceful and legitimate activities, not criminal wrongdoing.
Eskinder was honored in May with PEN America’s “Freedom to Write” award. He was arrested in 2011 under Ethiopia’s sweeping anti-terrorism laws.
Ethiopia, a U.S. military ally, is known for taking a hardline with members of the opposition. Amnesty said the evidence against Eskinder centers on his discussions on whether the Arab spring demonstrations could spread to Ethiopia.
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