The Federal Supreme Court that appeared on Thursday May 2 dismissed the appeal of blogger Eskinder Nega and opposition leader Andualem Arage, vice president of Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia,
who were jailed last year on terror-related charges.
“The sentencing is still correct so there is no reduction in their sentences,” said Supreme Court Judge Dagne Melaku, confirming Eskinder’s jail term of 18 years and Andualem’s life sentence.
Although one of the charges that stipulated they served as a ‘leader of a terrorist organisation’, was dropped, it had no effect on their sentencing. Both men are accused of links to the outlawed opposition group Ginbot 7.
Four other men also jailed on terror-related charges had their appeal rejected as well, while one other defendant, Kinfe Michael, had his sentence reduced from 25 years to 16 years.
Rights groups have called Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism legislation vague and accuse the government of using the law to stifle peaceful dissent.
The defendants have another chance to appeal to one more bench, the Court of Cassation, according to the law.
Rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch condemned the initial conviction of Eskinder Nega in July 2012.
Their appeal has been postponed on several occasions in the past few months due to shortage of judges, among other reasons.