[Eskinder Nega and his wife Serkalem Fasil | Photo credit Serkalem Fasil]
Today marks one year since Eskinder Nega’s arrest on September 14, 2011. A leading advocate for press freedom in Ethiopia, Eskinder was charged under the 2009 Anti-Terror Proclamation with “planning, preparation, conspiracy, incitement, and attempt” of terrorist acts for his critical reporting on the Ethiopian government. His trial began March 6, 2012, and on July 13, 2012, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Eskinder is the recipient of the 2012 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.
“The Ethiopian writer Eskinder Nega is that bravest and most admirable of writers, one who picked up his pen to write things that he knew would surely put him at grave risk,” said Peter Godwin, president of PEN American Center. “Yet he did so nonetheless. And indeed he fell victim to exactly the measures he was highlighting, Ethiopia’s draconian ‘’anti terrorism’ laws that criminalize critical commentary. This is at least the seventh time that the government of Meles Zenawi has detained Eskinder Nega in an effort to muzzle him. Yet Nega has continued his spirited pursuit of freedom of expression. Such humbling courage makes Nega a hugely deserving recipient of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.”
Visit Eskinder’s Honorary Member page for more information and to write a letter to the Ethiopian government on his behalf.