The African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), a continental body of African free expression organizations, condemned the 27-year sentence imposed by Ethiopia on veteran Somali journalist, Mohamed Aweys Mudey.
Ethiopian prosecutors accused Mudey of having information about Al-Shabab operations in Ethiopia and charged him with participating in terror activities.
Mudey, who was persecuted under Ethiopia's anti-terror law, was arrested in Addis Ababa in November 2013.
The repressive anti-terrorism law, adopted in 2009, is a threat that continues to hang over journalists, forcing them to censor themselves.
Opposition says the government has been criminalizing Ethiopians who express their opinions about government policies ever since. They also say Addis Ababa must clarify its broad definition of terrorism.
However, the government says the opposition is seeking to glorify convicted terrorists and is “downplaying the danger” Ethiopia is facing as a result of terrorism.
According to the New York-based independent Committee to Protect Journalists, over ten journalists have been charged under the anti-terrorism law. The committee says Ethiopia has the highest number of exiled journalists in the world.
Human rights groups accuse Ethiopia’s government of using the country’s anti-terrorism legislation to end peaceful dissent. The Ethiopian constitution, however, guarantees the right to freedom of expression.