Sham Verdict by a Kangaroo Court

G7 Press release, June 27, 2012

Today’s political verdict by the kangaroo court of Meles Zenawi comes as no surprise to the 24 wrongly convicted political prisoners. The Ethiopian people are long accustomed to witnessing these self-serving show trials on trumped up charges of perceived political enemies.Under the rogue regime of Meles Zenawi, the court system, time and again, has been brazenly used to criminalize dissent and brutally punish innocent citizens.

According to CPJ, Ethiopia, under Meles Zenawi’s regime, has the dubious honor of being the # 1 jailer of journalists.  Today’s verdict will have an even more chilling effect on freedom of expression and the press.

The 2009 draconian anti-terrorism law that was enacted for the sole purpose of stifling dissent is now being used aggressively to punish independent journalists, newspaper editors, and bloggers who dare exercise their right to freely express their views as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Right and in the 1994 Ethiopian Constitution as well.

Ethiopian journalists have become an endangered species under the rogue regime of Meles Zenawi and the right to free expression will remain in peril in Ethiopiauntil a democratic government based on the rule of law and the will of the people is established in Ethiopia.

We call on the Ethiopian people to unite behind a common purpose of bringing an end to the corrupt and abusive regime of Meles Zenawi which has been an enemy of freedom, democracy, justice, and equality in Ethiopia for far too long. It is time for Ethiopians to say enough to the dictatorship of Meles Zenawi and his ethnic party, the TPLF.

We call on the Obama Administration and all freedom loving nations to condemn this sham verdict in the strong words possible and to stop ignoring the plight of the Ethiopian people suffering under the unrelenting assault of the tyrannical regime of Meles Zenawi.

The time has come for Western donor nations to withdraw their moral and materialsupport to Zenawi’s regime and force the regime end its flagrant human rights violations and   step out of the way of the democratic transition that the Ethiopian people are yearning for. The United States needs to acknowledge the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Ethiopian people and to stand with them and their dream of a better future.

Ginbot 7 Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy