Ethiopia ’s ‘Zone 9 Bloggers’ Case: Harsh Treatment of Defendant

Freedom House
Washington
February 5, 2015

In response to reports that Abel Wabella, a defendant in the Zone 9 blogger case in Ethiopia, was kept shackled overnight and had his hearing aid removed following a February 4 court appearance, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The brutal treatment of Mr. Wabella by prison officials amounts to torture,” said Vukasin Petrovic, regional director for Africa. “Since their arrest in April, the Zone 9 bloggers and journalists have endured horrific treatment at the hands of the Ethiopian police and prison officials. At the very least, the court should investigate these cases of torture and hold those responsible accountable.”

Case Update

On February 5 , the court rejected a petition submitted by the defendants to have the presiding judge removed from the case due to his alleged unbalanced handling of proceedings. The presiding judge did, however, announce that he would recuse himself of the case on his own accord. The defendants are now required to enter a plea with a new presiding judge on February 18.

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom of the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2014, Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2014.

For more, please refer to Freedom House

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