News24

Ethiopia drops charges against editor

2012-08-29 18:00

Addis Ababa - Ethiopia has dropped charges against a newspaper editor accused of inciting violence against the government, officials said late on Tuesday.

"The prosecution has told me that they have withdrawn the charges," government spokesperson Shimeles Kemal said.

Temesgen Desalegn was charged this month with planning a revolt against the government, defamation, and using his newspaper Feteh to spread false information, according to the charge sheet.

On Friday, the court refused him bail and he was jailed.

However, Temesgen was released on Tuesday afternoon after the charges were dropped.

Change

The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists welcomed his release, but called on Ethiopia to release other jailed journalists.

Right groups have urged the Ethiopian government to improve its human rights record, and have welcomed an "opportunity for change" following the death of long-time leader Prime Minister Meles Zenawi last week.

Several journalists have been convicted under the country's anti-terrorism legislation, which critics say has been used to stifle freedom of expression.

Last month, dissident blogger Eskinder Nega was sentenced to 18 years in jail under the law. In December, two Swedish journalists were sent to jail for 11 years on terror-related charges.