A court in Ethiopia has sentenced a journalist to seven years imprisonment, a number of local media outlets reported on Tuesday (October 29).
Fekadu Mahitemework who worked with the Enku Magazine, a local media outlet, was sentenced on charges of tax evasion. He was also handed a 7000 birr fine by the court.
“He was a victim of the 2014 press crackdown by the government, when he was an Editor of Enku Magazine. When many journalist fled the country he remain and faced prosecution,” according to activist and blogger Atnaf Brhane.
The case against him brought by the Customs and Revenue Authority remained active since 2014 leading to the guilty charge and sentencing on tax evasion.
He becomes one of the first to be jailed under the dispensation of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Abiy okayed the release of hundreds of journalists under detention when he took office in April 2018.
Abiy has been hailed by press freedom and human rights outfits for opening up Ethiopia’s hitherto restricted political space which saw journalists arbitrarily detained for doing their job.
This is such a sad news. How is this different from those that were convicted (albeit wrongly) and freed by HMD or Abiy. Or do they want him in jail so that they release him and say, we released one more journalist? This case should have been dropped a lightyear ago. #FreeFekadu https://t.co/AuiDt9TrUQ— Behailu Shiferaw (@behailus) October 29, 2019