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Ethiopian Dissenters Convicted by Government

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Ethiopian Dissenters Convicted by Government

The May 2005 elections in Ethiopia were a landmark. They were the freest ever and 90% of the population came out to vote.

The results were controversial. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who's ruled for 20 years, said his EPRDF party had won a majority in parliament. The opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy thought it had won. They led mass protests in the capital. Violence broke out, 193 people were killed and over 700 injured by security forces.

The government then arrested the leadership of the opposition and 14 journalists. They were charged initially with genocide and treason and outrages against the constitution.

This week the courts found the leadership guilty of several changes including outrages against the constitution (that one carries a sentence of anywhere from 3 years to life). Amnesty international has called for the unconditional release of all the prisoners. 

Meqdes Mesfin is a physician in the United States . Her father is one of the opposition prisoners Mesfin Wolde Marium. He‘s an academic who did research on the issue famine. He then founded Ethiopians only active human rights reporting organization. He's now 76 years old.

Jerome asked Meqdes Mesfin about her father's condition.

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