Ethiopia Hands Lengthy Prison Terms to Muslim Activists

An Ethiopian court sentenced 17 Muslim activists on Monday to prison terms ranging from seven to 22 years on charges they plotted to create an Islamic state in the majority Christian country.

A journalist for a Muslim newspaper was also sentenced for conspiring with the activists, the court in Addis Ababa said.

The defendants, who all denied the charges, were arrested in 2012 on charges of plotting to stage attacks to create an Islamic state in Ethiopia, which has a sizable Muslim minority.

The sentencing comes as Ethiopia faces increasing scrutiny from human rights groups that have regularly accused it of arresting activists, journalists and bloggers to stamp out dissent. The government dismisses the allegations.

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