Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Ethiopia opposition leader charged

18 February 2014, 07:31

Addis Ababa - An Ethiopian opposition leader charged with contempt of court after writing an article critical of the country's judiciary has been released from jail with a conditional sentence, officials said on Monday.

Asrat Tase, a senior member of the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), was arrested on 7 February after publishing an article accusing the Ethiopian justice system of being biased toward the government.

"The court tried him summarily and they found him guilty," government spokesperson Shimeles Kemal told AFP.

The spokesperson said the opposition figure was charged with contempt of court and has now been released, but he has been given a suspended sentence meaning he can be automatically jailed for five months for committing any crime.

"If the person commits another crime that sentence will automatically be reactivated," Shimeles said.

UDJ spokesperson Habtamu Ayalew condemned the sentence as unconstitutional, and accused the government of breaching its own laws to stifle freedom of speech.

"Any person can write or can speak according to the Ethiopian constitution, so when he wrote and criticised the justice how can he be arrested?," Habtamu told AFP.

Ethiopia has been accused of stifling political dissent and gagging political rivals in the past.

Several opposition members and journalists are jailed under the country's anti-terrorism legislation, which rights groups have criticised as vague and far-reaching.

Around 200 people were killed in protests during the 2005 elections, including anti-government demonstrators.

There is only one opposition member of parliament in Ethiopia, which is to hold federal elections in May 2015.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...