(AFP) – Feb 1, 2010
ADDIS ABABA — An Ethiopian journalist has been jailed for a year for criticising the prime minister, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) said Tuesday.
"An Ethiopian judge sentenced a journalist to prison on Friday in connection with a January 2008 column that criticized Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's statements about religious affairs in Ethiopia, according to local journalists," the New York-based press rights watchdog said.
It identified the journalist as Ezedin Mohamed, editor of Al-Quds, which it described as a "Muslim-orientated newspaper".
The Al-Quds column is said to have challenged Meles's characterisation of his country as "Orthodox Christian Ethiopia," CPJ said.
The editor has begun serving his sentence at Kality Prison outside the capital Addis Ababa, the watchdog said.
"The jailing of Ezedin Mohamed is another example of Ethiopia's intolerance of independent and critical voices," said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes. "It is high time for Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to demonstrate his commitment to democratic values by ending the practice of imprisoning journalists."
Mohamed is the fifth journalist to be imprisoned in Ethiopia, which is the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa, CPJ said, adding that only neighbouring Eritrea jails more.
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