Editorial: Ethiopia must end intimidation campaign against academics and activists

Tigray

(Source: Awashpost.com, 05 December 2020) The arrest warrants against diaspora-based dissidents underscores the escalated intolerance for free expression in Ethiopia. It is part of the Abiy administration’s increasing reliance on relentless propaganda and violence to intimidate and ultimately silence independent voices.

On November 28, 2020, the Ethiopian government issued arrest warrants for prominent scholars and activists based in Western countries. This action marked a significant escalation in a vicious intimidation campaign against independent voices, particularly critics of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Among the accused are Ezekiel Gebissa, professor of History at Kettering University in the United States, and Dr. Awol Allo, Senior Lecturer in Law at Keele University in the United Kingdom.

The Federal Police Commission told the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation that it had issued warrants for eight individuals accused of using “various media platforms to disintegrate the Ethiopian state” and 27 military officers accused of “embezzlement and unlawful enrichment.”

The use of the legal system to silence critical voices and eliminate political adversaries by the Abiy administration is not new. Over the last year, authorities locked up every prominent opponent of the prime minister, subjecting leaders of political parties, journalists, and other dissenting voices to prolonged detention without charges and politically motivated show trials.

However, the profile of individuals included in the latest series of politicized prosecutions shows the government has escalated intolerance to dissent and opposition. It also indicates a sinister political agenda that aims to discredit publicly, slander, and vilify individuals with significant voice and authority. Continue Reading

 

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