Yonatan Tesfaye has received a jail term relief after his prison sentence has been reduced to three years. Tesfaye, who was the Blue Party spokesman, was jailed for six years. His troubles with the government started after a facebook post which seemed to instigate terrorism.
Arrested in 2015
Yonatan Tesfaye, who led the major opposition party in Ethiopia, was arrested in 2015. A statement read in court cited that the post in social media was likely to dismantle political, social and economic status. He was arraigned in the federal high court which found him guilty leading to imprisonment. However, a reliable source has it that Tesfaye simply accused the government of using excessive force while dealing with demonstrators.
His relief came following an appeal at the Supreme Court by his lawyer. The application filed by the lawyer requested the charges of terrorism be reduced to criminal charges. The lawyers’ appeal has not only reduced the charges but also reduced his jail term to three years and a half.
Harassment of political dissents
In the recent past, the Ethiopian government has constantly been accused of harassing political dissents. This happens amid a loud cry from the civil society, African and international governments, the United States and the European Union. The current status quo in Ethiopia does not even allow peaceful demonstrations. Others groups of people who have found themselves in trouble with the law are the journalists and human rights activists.
Tesfaye case similar to Lilesa
Yonatan Tesfaye case is similar to that of Feyisa Lilesa in August 2015. Lilesa, a marathon champion, crossed his hands above the head as he crossed the finishing line in Rio Olympic Games. His act was interpreted as a gesture of incitement to his Oromo community. This forced him to remain in exile after the games for fear of arrest.