Ethiopia’s court has convicted Daniel Bekele, a manager at Action Aid Ethiopia and his co-worker Netsanet Demissie. They were charged with stirring up unrest after the 2005 election. The 2005 election was mostly praised by the US’s Carter Center election observers but it was widely condemned by the EU election monitors.

The ruling has been adjourned many times by Ethiopia’s Federal High Court, sparking protest by Action Aid international and rights watchdogs. The Judge stated today that the two are guilty of “inciting uprising.”

A lawyer with a master’s degree from Oxford University, Daniel Bekele was arrested on November 1 2005 along with his co-worker Netsanet Demissie and hundreds of other Ethiopians who protested the 2005 election results. Around 200 protesters and police officers were dead due to the post election violence. Various opposition CUD party leaders were released from jail after allegedly signing an apology letter accepting responsibility, while Daniel and Netsanet remained in prison.

The two are acquitted of the previous charges of “outrage against the constitution and the constitutional order.” Netsanet Demissie is the head of the Organization for social justice in Ethiopia which is a partner organization of Action Aid.

The court is expected to deliver the men's sentence Wednesday when the two will face up to 10 years in prison.

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