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Academics Charged With Inciting Student Riots

UN Integrated Regional Information Network, 30 May 2001

Two prominent human rights activists have been charged with attempting to change the constitutional order of Ethiopia by force, the pro-government Walta Information Centre has reported. Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, former head of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO), and Dr Berhanu Nega, head of the non-governmental Ethiopian Economic Association, were also charged with being members of an unlawful clandestine organisation, Walta said.

The two academics have been detained since 8 May in connection with April’s student unrest in Addis Ababa. They are accused of making inflammatory remarks, aimed at dividing students along ethnic lines during a lecture at Addis Ababa University, and inciting them to riot. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges. The Federal High Court has been adjourned until 1 June to consider the defendants’ applications for bail.