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Ethiopia sentences Canadian to life on terrorism charges


August 3,2009 (ADDIS ABABA) — The Federal High Court of Ethiopia on Monday passed life imprisonment against an Ethiopian-Born Canadian man who was found guilty last week on terrorism charges.

Bashir Ahmed Makhtal was convicted of being a senior member of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a rebel group that Ethiopia regards as a terrorist organization, and says supported by its neighbuoring foe Eritrea.

The Ethiopian court has also found him guilty of collaborating with Somalia’s Islamist movement in their attempt to topple the Ethiopia government up on the jihad war they declared against Ethiopia, following invasion in 2006.

Prosecutors had wanted death penalty but court has rebuffed their demand as they failed to bring credible witness that could possibly lead convict to his execution.

After subject was found guilty last week on all counts, Canada, significant aid donor to Ethiopia, sought assurances from Addis Ababa that death penalty is not applied.

Makhtal has denied all allegations against him and argues that he is just prosecuted for the one reason that his grandfather was one among the founders of the ONLF organization.

He was arrested in Kenya in December 2006 with dozens of other foreigners as part of a U.S.-led anti-terror sweep. A month later, Makhtal and the other detainees were flown to Ethiopia.

Over subsequent months, the detainees were released without charge and repatriated to their countries all except Makhtal and one Kenyan, who has essentially been declared a non-citizen by Kenya.

Politicians over the past week had warned that death penalty against the Canadian man could roughen Ethiopia-Canada relations leading to a possible cut off to the millions of dollars aid flow Canada does to the horn of Africa’s country.

Ethiopia is Canada’s fifth highest aid recipient. In 2006-07, Canada delivered about $85 million in various aid programs to the country.

Earlier last month, Ethiopia passed a proposed Anti-Terrorism Proclamation unchanged, despite wide ranges of protest that the bill was passed with extremely broad and ambiguous definition of terrorist activity and that could permit government to repress wide range of internationally-protected freedoms, press freedom and contains provisions that undermine fundamental due process rights.


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  • 4 August 2009 04:14, by Samson Shawel Ambaye

    Ethiopia does not have government to represent the country’s interest in the past 18 years. The false so called government of Ethiopia or the next Bashirs of UN and ICC from the begining are separetists and anti- Ethiopia tribal rebels. The proofs of their rebellion and lack of credibility to be acknowledged by Ethiopians are
    since they became false government they drafted and signed anti Ethiopia charter to make Ethiopia with out sea port and Red Sea.

    In 2008 they agreed to give Sudan Ethiopia’s land

    Since they became false government they committed genocide like their father Bashir in Ogaden and Gambela.

    These shame less former gorilla fighters now try to present themselves like pro Ethiopia Ethiopians and arrest the Canadian Somalian citizen.

    Ehtiopians ask government of Canada to expell false Ethiopia’s government embassy in Canada and release the Canadian citizen.

    repondre message

    • 4 August 2009 11:10, by Terry Harris

      I am not sure I understand everything you are saying, it seems you are sewing chaos. If that is not your intent, I agree, it is clear, this decision smells.

      Ethiopia you must put forward the evidence.

      repondre message

      • 5 August 2009 01:00, by Jack Rosenquist

        If Samson Shawel Ambaye is simply saying that the State is acting against the people in the Horn of Africa, I think he’s right. And that sounds to me like what he’s saying—but it is a little confusing, because he talks so much about the Eritrean State’s crimes without mentioning them by name, and doesn’t mention the Woyane State by name either. Does "the false so called government of Ethiopia" mean both States?

        repondre message

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