Third Adjournment for Bloggers, Journalists; Still No Evidence

The Arada First Instance Court in Addis Abeba, considering the case involving journalists and bloggers detained since April 25, 2014, again adjourned trial to June 29, 2014. Three members of blogging collectives appeared in court for the fourth time in five weeks without any apparent charge.

The trial of Abel Wabela, Befeqadu Hailu and Mahlet Fantahun was scheduled for June 1, after the court granted the police an initial extension of 14 days to complete their investigation. The same court has, yet again, accepted the request by police for an additional 28 days, claiming they are working on “terrorism” interrogations.

Over 120 friends, family members of the bloggers attempted to attend the hearing. Security forces barred them from the court compound located at Arada, in a closed trial which lasted just 10 minutes. Family members, friends and fans reacted with grief at the lost opportunity for minimal contact with the detainees.Several reports of acts of intimidation by security forces outside the court were also noted by eyewitnesses.

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