Ethiopia set to amend controversial anti-terror laws

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Ethiopia’s government plans to amend anti-terror laws rights groups say have been used to detain journalists and critics.

According to reports from Ethiopia’s Fana Broadcasting Corp, the country’s ruling coalition will meet with other political parties this week to discuss changes to the controversial anti-terror laws. This comes as Ethiopia’s high court drops terrorism charges against the heads of two opposition groups based in the US.

Ethiopia to amend anti-terror laws

Ethiopia’s anti-terror laws have become one of the primary sources of criticism for the ruling EPRDF coalition. Thousands of people have been arrested and detained under charges related to terrorism, most of whom are journalists, bloggers, online commenters and opposition members guilty of criticising the government.

Since taking office in April, Ethiopia’s new prime minister Abiy Ahmed has released thousands of political prisoners and opened dialogue with opposition groups. His early actions as PM have bolstered hopes of political reform in Ethiopia although he’s yet to implement any policies or legal changes that would reshape the country’s political landscape.

While the government isn’t confirming which sections of the nation’s anti-terror laws are being revised, a significant amendment would be the first concrete sign of democratic progress under Abiy.

On Tuesday, the government pardoned Ginbot 7’s leader Berhanu Nega, who had previously been sentenced to death, before discussions over revising the existing anti-terror laws began on Wednesday.

Featured image: By Rod Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia – Guard Tower, Shashamane Prison, Ethiopia, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29766203

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.