Blue Party has condemned a prison sentencing of its former members by the Federal High Court, which was passed last week. The Federal High Court passed a prison sentence against the former Public Relations head of Blue Party, Yonatan Tesfaye, and Getachew Shiferaw, editor in chief of Negere-Ethiopia, a weekly newspaper.
The party in its press release sent to The Reporter said that the sentence is a clear indication of intrusion of the ruling party, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), in the justice system of the country.
In its ruling the court sentenced Yonatan to six and a half years and Getachew to one year and a half.
Yonatan, 29, was arrested in December, 2015 after accusing the government of using excessive force against demonstrators in Oromia Regional state.
His detention shortly came after a wide range of anti-government protest manly in Oromia Region. After his arrest, the government charged him with terrorism under the country’s infamous anti-terrorism proclamation.
The charges against Yonatan also alleged that Yonatan was posting messages on his personal Facebook accounts that incite violence and encourage protestors to loot and destruct properties. It also called upon a regime change through violence.
Prosecutors also accused Yonatan that his Facebook posts about the controversial Addis Ababa Oromia Integrated Master Plan had similar stance with the objectives of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), an outlawed political party by the Ethiopian parliament.
A former high school teacher, Yonatan became visible in Ethiopia’s polarized political arena during the fifth national election. He was a Blue Party’s candidate during the election in the Bole constituency.