Woubshet Taye, deputy editor of the independent weekly Awramba Times has been imprisoned since June 2011 on vague unsubstantiated terrorism charges. He was arrested a couple of weeks after he published a column in the Awramba Times that critically assessed the ruling party's performance in its two decades of rule.
Government spokesman Shimelis Kemal said Woubshet was among several people accused of planning terrorist attacks on infrastructure, telecommunications, and power lines with the support of an unnamed international terrorist group and Ethiopia's neighbor, Eritrea.
In January 2012, a court in Addis Ababa sentenced Woubshet to 14 years in prison. Woubshet did not appeal his conviction and applied for a pardon. In August 2013, the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice rejected the request for a pardon according to the Awramba Times.
Authorities have transferred Woubshet among several prisons, including the remote detention facility in the town of Ziway, about 83 miles southeast of the capital, according to local journalists and the Awramba Times. At Ziway, prison officials placed him in a section for political prisoners known as "chelema bete," where communication and access to open air are limited, according to family members who visited him. In February 2014, prison authorities transferred him temporarily to solitary confinement for releasing a letter describing prison conditions, which was published in the private newspaper Ethio-Midhar.
Woubshet published in September 2014 a book of essays written in prison called The Voice of Freedom, detailing his trial and the challenges Ethiopian journalists face.
Police authorities restricted visits by friends and family after the book was released, local journalists reported. In October 2013, Woubshet was honored with the Free Press Africa Award at the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards in Cape Town, South Africa.
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Journalism under Ethiopia's anti-terrorism law
Woubshet Taye received the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Award in 2013
"It is our view that journalists like Mr. Taye should be out of prison and working to build the prosperity and the freedom of a new Ethiopia."