The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has launched a petition to the Ethiopian government to free Somali journalist Mohamed Aweys Mudey was sentenced to 27-year jail.
Somali journalist Mudey, 48, was accused by the Ethiopian prosecutors of having information about Al-Shabaab operations in Ethiopia and was charged for participating in terror activities. He was arrested in Addis Ababa in November, 2013 and in the month of February, 2014, he was found guilty of charges and imposed sentence as the 4-month period prescribed in the Ethiopia’s anti-terror law to interrogate suspect elapsed.
During his trial, no lawyer or family member was with Mudey, and he was later shifted to an undisclosed place dedicated for people accused of terrorism to serve his jail term.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has stated that the guilty verdict and prison sentence given to veteran Somali journalist, Mohamed Aweys Mudey, is unacceptable and appealed to Ethiopian authorities to quash his sentence and release him with immediate effect.
“We are dismayed at this unbelievably severe ruling against the respected veteran journalist, Mohamed Aweys Mudey, who is not guilty of any crime,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “The charges against him are ludicrous and we urge the relevant authorities in Ethiopia to release him immediately and unconditionally.”
As pointed out by the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law is overly broad and ambiguous; and undermines the international guarantees of freedom of expression, especially through its broad definition of “terrorism”. AFEX is concerned as to how the Ethiopian media environment has been characterized by arrests and prosecution of journalists recently.