Kiya Tsegaye, Addis Standard’s Legal Affairs Advisor & Contributor
Addis Abeba, June 04/2017 – For the third time in less than one year, authorities in Ethiopia have imposed a blanket blackout of access to internet for ordinary Ethiopians. The blackout is total for ordinary citizens because for the last six days, a few people, especially those who are willing to pay extraordinary amounts of money to luxury hotels to access Wi-Fi, those who are employees of major international organizations including embassies, the African Union, and United Nations affiliate offices and tech savvy ones who know how to configure their DNS and use strong versions of VPN were able to use the internet.
Needless to say, the Internet is one of the most important technological progress made in the 20th century. We have become dependent on the internet in almost all aspects of our lives – from business, to relationship and family, to social and cultural aspects of our lives. When the internet is shut down, it impacts our lives in many ways than few.
Addis Abeba, May 26/2017 – In what came as a big moment of relief to family and friends, despite it being a further blow to freedom of the press in Ethiopia, the federal high Court 19th criminal bench has this morning sentenced Journalist Getachew Shiferaw editor-in-chief of a local Amharic newspaper Negere-Ethiopia, established by the opposition Semayawi (Blue) Party to one year and six months in jail, a time period he has already served since his first arrest on December 25, 2015.
Accordingly, Getachew is expected to be freed as of the court’s ruling this morning because he will be entitled to four months of good time credit per one year of his incarceration.
Addis Abeba – May 25, 2017 – The Federal High court fourth criminal bench has today sentenced Yonatan Tesfaye, social media activist and former public relations head of the opposition Blue Party to six years and three months in jail.
In its ruling this morning, the court has partially accepted Yonatan’s three different appeals for minimum sentence. His appeal mentioned that Yonatan was the sole caregiver of his aging and ailing mother; that he had no previous criminal records and that he was involved in several charity programs to benefit disadvantaged citizens.