Ethiopia : Eye contact with bloggers prohibited during January 5 trial

Trial Tracker Blog
January 5,2015

Monday morning the Zone 9 Bloggers and the three journalists were brought to Lideta High Court for the 14th trial.

Families and friends of the detained stood in line waiting to get inside of the court room. Today, it was more crowded than usual outside of the court. Many people had gathered to follow the rape case of Hanna, which was held in the same place. Having several court hearings in the same court room and on the same day makes the court too crowded. Also, the session was delayed with the result that detainees, loved ones and people following the case online needed to wait for a long time for the session to begin. Furthermore, the space for families and friends in the court room was (as always) very limited. Just a few of them could attend.

During earlier sessions an amendment of the terrorism charges were ordered (read more below [on Trial Tracker Blog]). The amended charges were presented today, but according to the judges some details had not been amended. However, the court accepted the amended charge regarding planning of terrorism acts. The court ordered further amendment on other details.

The situation in the court room became intense after the attendants were asked not to make eye contact with the bloggers. Security staff ordered attendants to switch off their cell phones. Despite the attempts to stop the reporting from trials, the hashtag #FreeZone9Bloggers is still going strong in social media.

The trial is adjourned for the 15th time. The next hearing will take place on January 14, 2015.

For more about this report, please click here

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