World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Ethiopia: Two Rights Defenders Still In Detention

Ethiopia: Two human rights defenders still in detention as verdict is adjourned again

The Federal High Court in Addis Ababa today adjourned to 24 December its delivery of the verdict on two civil society activists, Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie, who face possible life sentences on political charges.

The verdict, which was expected on 22 November but was delayed to 30 November on account of the illness of one of the three judges, has been delayed again for four weeks while a substitute judge is appointed and given time to review the case.

Both men have already been held in prison for two years, as bail has continually been refused.

All other defendants on trial with them, including leaders of the opposition party Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), were freed in July through a negotiated "pardon" arrangement after they were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment or long prison terms. Only Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie remain before the court, as they had presented a defence -- unlike the others -- and declined to plead guilty and apply for a political pardon

Amnesty International continues to appeal for their immediate and unconditional release as prisoners of conscience who were arrested and put on trial because of their peaceful human rights defence work. Both have been held in prison since November 2005 and face possible life sentences.

Amnesty International's trial observers were barred from the country in July. Amnesty International was seeking to assess whether the trial was being conducted in accordance with international standards of fair trial, about which it has serious concerns.

Daniel Bekele is the policy manager of ActionAid in Ethiopia. Netsanet Demissie is the founder and director of the Organization for Social Justice in Ethiopia. Both are prominent human rights lawyers who were arrested in November 2005 during mass round-ups amid political protests at alleged electoral fraud following the May 2005 elections. Government security forces shot dead 187 people during demonstrations in June and November 2005.


More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news