Zelalem Workagegnehu, co-blogger of De Birhan Blog and whose works had appeared on various Diaspora website, has been sentenced to five years and four months by the Ethiopian regime controlled court in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia today.
Zelalem has already been detained for nearly two years.
Zelalem was finishing his Masters Degree in Public Administration at the Addis Abeba University, in July 2014 when he was detained together with nine other opposition politicians, netizens, and activists.
The Court had acquitted five of the defendants in August 2015 and two more of Zelalem’s co-defendants on April 15, 2016 when it found Zelalem and two other co-defendants of Zelalem guilty of “supporting terror in any way.”
The movement he is accused of supporting is Known as Ginbot 7 (Arebgenoch Ginbot 7 Movement), a pro-democracy movement founded by Professor Berhanu Nega, an Ethiopian economist, who lectured in Bucknell University, U.S.A. The Ethiopian government labelled his movement as well as few other Ethiopian opposition groups as “Terrorist Groups” in 2010.
Like several Ethiopian activists, journalists and politicians, Zelalem was initially accused being a member and local leader of Ginbot 7 although the charges were later changed. Zelalem in his defense statements maintained that he has never been a member of Ginbot 7 and does not believe Ginbot 7 is a terror organisation, he does believe in bringing social change only through nonviolent means.