Charges against academics dropped

January 5, 1996

Ethiopia has dropped charges against six senior academics and ten journalists accused of breaking press and criminal laws in connection with student disturbances in Addis Ababa four years ago.

Announcing the decision, the deputy prosecutor general noted that one of the academics, Mesfin Wolde Mariam, at that time chairman of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, had been accused of writing and publishing an "unfounded and distorted" report entitled The peaceful demonstration attempt by the Addis Ababa University Students and the atrocities carried out against them.

The other five academics - the former president of the University, Alemayehu Tefera, his deputy, Mekonen Dilgasa, and three other members of the university administration - were accused of failing to take the necessary precautions to avert the demonstrations.

The ten journalists and editors were accused of "malicious and unfounded reporting" likely to incite the public to further disorders.

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