Tewodros Kassa, formerly the editor-in- chief of the weekly newspaper Ethiop, was sentenced to a two-year prison sentence in July 2002 for supposedly "fabricating information that could incite people to political violence" and "disseminating false information through the newspaper". These charges related to three articles published in 2001, and his sentence began immediately.
Tewodros Kassa was first imprisoned in June 2000, again for supposedly fabricating information which could incite people to political violence - for which charge he served a one-year sentence. In the opinion of International PEN, custodial sentences are wholly inappropriate when dealing with alleged offences of spreading false information, but it notes that the Ethiopian authorities have systematically used wide-ranging press laws to clamp down on opinions they deem to be anti-government.
Please send appeals for the immediate release of Tewodros Kassa pending a review of his case, and urging the state authorities to repeal Ethiopia's oppressive press laws and drop criminal charges against all journalists, to:
His Excellency Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
PO Box 1031