Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ethiopian human rights activists, journalists charged with genocide

Some of you may remember that late last year, Ethiopian insecurity forces went on the rampage against those protesting allegedly fradulent election results. Six protesters were murdered and dozens others wounded. Not suprisingly, the ones punished were not the insecurity forces but the protesters themselves. Both opposition leaders, human rights activists and newspaper editors were tossed in jail and charged with treason.

That part isn't really surprising. But not only were they charged with treason, which is bad enough if typical, but they were charged with genocide.

Genocide?!!

Amnesty International denounced the charges as 'absurd' and declared them prisoners of conscience. They insisted this would be a test of the independence of Ethiopia's judiciary. The UN's human rights chief also called for the political prisoners to be released on bail.

Oddly enough, the detention of the supposedly treasonous and genocidal human rights activists and journalists have not stopped violence in the country's capital. Maybe the insecurity forces aren't capable of distinguishing opponents of the regime from real criminals. Or maybe they just view them as one and the same.

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