Ethiopian Bloggers Cleared of Terrorism Charges


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Defendants in one of the world’s most widely followed press-freedom cases were acquitted of terrorism charges on Friday.

Nine bloggers and journalists, most of them contributors to Zone 9, a blog critical of the government, were arrested in April 2014 and charged under Ethiopia’s sweeping antiterrorism law. Another was abroad and charged in absentia.

The case became a rallying point for critics of Ethiopia’s government, which has been accused of stifling free speech.

Five defendants were unexpectedly released in July. On Friday, judges in a court in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, decided that for those still imprisoned, “the documents presented by the prosecutor were not sufficient to prove the alleged terrorism,” said Ameha Mekonnen, a defense lawyer in the case.

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