Joe Michael (06 August 2009) Since the new United States administration had showed a red light to the Ethiopian dictatorial regime with regards to arming its militaries, the regime has been busy plotting other measures in silencing its opponents. Recently, it adopted a new terrorism law that can harshly throw its opponents and critics to jail.
According to the new law, even a peaceful citizen who doesn’t report a terror activity, whether he/she was aware of it or not, historically terror in Ethiopia could be peacefully assembling to criticize the government, could face a serious penalty. A journalist that interview, publish, meet, etc. with someone who is doomed by the government as a terrorist, again keep in mind that the government has been dooming his critics as terrorists, will be punished with rigorous imprisonment of 10 to 20 years.
It is to be recalled that in the aftermath of the 2005 election, special military squad killed close to 200 innocent civilians using U.S. made humvees that was given to Ethiopia by the Bush administration for a purpose of fighting terrorism. The regime also doomed all main opposition leaders as terrorists and imprisoned them for two years. Their crime was basically winning the election.
The new terrorism law also requires Ethiopians to report all foreign nationals in their homes, including Ethiopian born foreign nationals who would go back home to visit their families. This simply means that families must report their loved ones when they return home, or they will face serious punishments, perceptibly if they are pro-oppositions.
Even though terrorism was misinterpreted and misused in Ethiopia long before the new law, it is now going way out of hand. Like one opposition member said, the new terror law it self terrorizes Ethiopians in that it gives infinite power to the government to make 80 million Ethiopians terrorists any time it wants to. The only terror act that is not punishable by the new law is having a dream about terrorists (oppositions), which no one yet would dare to tell it.
What is terror anyway? Who are real terrorists in Ethiopia? Aren’t the terrorists those who are killing innocent, unarmed civilians? Aren’t terrorists those who kept opposition leaders and their supporters in jail without due process? Aren’t the terrorists those who cruelly shot and killed hundreds of civilians, women, and kids in 2005?
Well, heads up Diaspora, next time you want to go back to Ethiopia, you should know that you are not only taking dollars to your family, you are placing them in trouble too. Get registered, or your family will be doomed as terrorists.