Ethiopian Police Deny Using Terror Law to Silence Opposition

Posted September 17th, 2011 at 3:06 am (UTC-5)
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Ethiopian police have rejected charges that recent arrests of government critics are politically motivated.

Deputy federal police commissioner Demesash Woldemikael said Friday the detention of journalists and opposition leaders is based on evidence linking them to an outlawed party. He says a new anti-terror law is not being used to silence political dissent.

An Ethiopian counter-terrorism task force recently arrested journalist Eskinder Nega and the opposition Unity and Justice for Democracy party's Andualem Aragie.

UDJ leader and former Ethiopian President Negasso Gidada says the arrests have energized his party in its peaceful struggle against Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government.

On Friday, Human Rights Watch called on the Ethiopian government to ends it growing crackdown on opposition politicians and activists.

Another watchdog group, The Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday that a sixth journalist has been arrested under the new anti-terror law.