Egyptian Chronicles: #FreeZone9Bloggers : Blogging is not a Crime

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

#FreeZone9Bloggers : Blogging is not a Crime

Blogging is not crime but in third world dictatorship regimes it is just like journalism and any sort of Media trying to bring out truth to the public. We have more our share in Africa when it comes to these shares.
There are 9 journalists and bloggers who have been arrested in Ethiopia for no real reason except covering the news and expressing their view about the government.
The bloggers of Zone 9 Blogging collective "Endalk"
Six bloggers and 3 journalists “members of Zone 9 blogging collective” were arrested in Ethiopia late April and were accused of inciting violence against authorities through social media. Last week they stood a trial where they revealed that they were physically abused during their detention.
The six bloggers are Befeqadu Hailu, Abel Wabela, Atnaf Berahane, Mahlet Fantahun, Zelalem Kibret, and Natnael Feleke while the 3 journalists are Asmamaw Hailegeorgis, Tesfalem Waldyes and Edom Kassaye.
Updated : According to Ethiopian bloggers and activists they were arrested after being under surveillance for several months for criticizing the regime.
They are currently being accused of inciting violence against the regime using social media as well collaborating with foreigner human rights activists. Those bloggers may face death sentence under Ethiopia's controversial Anti-Terrorism law !! More info about the case here. 
The last post by the Bloggers’ collective published in their blog “Zone 9” was on May 2nd about the shooting of the Oromo students protesting against the Ethiopian government. Here is the official Facebook of the Blogging Collective.
By  the way Mahlet Fantah's twitter account has been suspended by twitter !!  
Yes they were arrested because of the Oromo students protests.
The Oromo community is currently protesting specifically the Youth and the students against the plan of the plan of the government in Adidas Ababa that would affect the Oromo territories as well their culture. The development plans proposed by the Ethiopian government will include displacement of Oromo farmers from their territories. The Oromo students have been protesting for weeks there and just like repressive regime. Dozens of students have been shut down by Ethiopian security forces.
The Oromo community started a protesting movement all over the world including Egypt where they had a protest in front of the Arab league last week.
Now you want to help today you got things to do : To tweet about #FreeZone9bloggers as part of the international Tweetathon on May 14
Or you can send a letter to the Ethiopian ambassador in your country asking his government to release those bloggers and journalists.
Amazingly through the Free Zone 9 Bloggers’ case  , I found out that there is something “African Charter on humans’ and people’s rights”. Of course I found that Egypt had interesting reservation on that 30 years charter specifically about the Freedom of belief , Freedom of expression and women’s rights !!!!
There are many similarities between the Ethiopian government and Egyptian government after all.
Anyhow Blogging is not a crime.

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