Chairman Cleaver’s Statement In Support Of Ethiopian Journalist Eskinder Nega

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Congressional Black Caucus today released this statement on the Ethiopian government’s ongoing imprisonment of journalists in violation of their human rights and in disregard for freedom of the press.

Eskinder Nega is a prominent Ethiopian journalist who was arrested and imprisoned in September 2011 under Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009.  Eskinder was arrested after publishing an online column that criticized the government’s use of anti-terrorism laws to silence opposition figures.  Nega urged the Ethiopian government to respect freedom of expression and end prison torture.

“The Congressional Black Caucus condemns the Ethiopian government for using laws presumably intended to criminalize acts of terrorism as a sword to take down journalists who have spoken out against the government.  Not only does the Ethiopian government misuse national security laws, but its actions devalue its standing in the international community.  Just prior to Nega’s arrest, an Ethiopian judge publicly accused Nega of intending to initiate a popular revolt in Ethiopia via his online journalism.  The Ethiopian law enforcement and judicial regime has by its own actions brought to light the very real injustices occurring in that country that Nega and other Ethiopian journalists were trying to expose.”

-Chairman Emanuel Cleaver




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