ATLANTA (August 4, 2014) – A U.S.-based blogger who operates a popular Ethiopian news and opinion website has filed a $120 million counter lawsuit against the Government of Ethiopia, a major U.S. lawfirm named DLA Piper, Saudi billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi and others on Monday morning.
The blogger, Mr. Elias Kifle, who writes on ethiopianreview.com, filed the suit in Atlanta at the U.S. District Court for Northern Georgia District.
The suit names DLA Piper, Mr Mohammed Al Amoudi and his partner Mr Jemal Ahmed, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia Mr Debretsion Gebremichael, Ethiopian government’s chief of security Mr Getachew Assefa, and the Government of Ethiopia.
In his suit, Mr Kifle alleges “civil rights violations,” “abuse of process,” and “economic harm.” He accuses the defendants of serially harassing him, hindering his constitutionally protected work, causing emotional distress to his family, and causing severe economic harm to him.
Mr Kifle also accuses DLA Piper, a large law firm with 4,000 lawyers, of extortion, racketeering and a relentless campaign of harassment on behalf of the Ethiopian government and its supporters.
The suit is a counterclaim to a defamation suit that was filed against Mr Kifle by Al Amoudi’s partner Jemal Ahmed, who owns large farms in Ethiopia and exports farm products to Saudi Arabia through his companies, Saudi Star and Horizon Plantations. Mr Ahmed accused Mr Kifle of falsely reporting that he is engaged in human trafficking and grabbing of land from small farmers.
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