Friday, 10 May 2013

A 30-second Skype call in Ethiopia could land you 15 years in prison

A new law makes it a crime to engage in audio or video communications over the Internet

The Ethiopian government has passed new legislation that makes it illegal to use Skype and most other video chat platforms.

The Ethiopian government has passed new legislation that makes it illegal to use Skype and most other video chat platforms.

The country's government has passed a new law that makes it a crime to engage in audio or video communications using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype, Google Talk and most other video chat platforms, according to Al Jazeera.
Anyone who makes a phone call over the Internet reportedly faces a three to eight year prison sentence and heavy fines thanks to the May 24 legislation.
The punishment for using an official Internet calling service such as Skype is even stronger, with violators facing a potential 15 years in jail, the African Review reports.
The government claims the law was passed in order to strengthen national security, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Ambroise Pierre, head of the non-profit organization’s Africa Desk, said the measure is really intended to restrict the flow of communication in and out of the country.
"The Ethiopian government is trying to attack every means of information exchange," Pierre said.
Former BBC Ethiopia correspondent Elizabeth Blunt says that law may be intended to protect the state's sole telecommunications provider, Ethio Teleco.
"Internet cafes may be allowing people to make calls for far less than the cost of Ethiopia telecom, the state's telecommunications provider that has the monopoly and charges very high prices — and doesn't want to have its service undermined," Blunt told BBC.
The new legislation also gives the government permission to inspect any imported voice communication equipment, Al Jazeera reports.
Internet access in Ethiopia is already relatively limited.
Only 360,000 Ethiopians, or .04% of the country’s population, had access to the Web in 2009, PCMag reports.
Access in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa, is also unreliable.
Several people have taken to Twitter to express anger over the new law.
"#Ethiopia - #Skype, not allowed please use smoke signals," Coldtusker wrote.
“Cant foster an environment of innovation w so much strangulation of the pipes. Guess they have a strategy out of it,” TMS Ruge tweeted.
Ethiopia has a long history of restricting new technology and later accepting it.
Owning a satellite dish in Ethopia was illegal 15 years ago, according to the blog “Transforming Ethopia.”
Credit cards were also outlawed at a time.
"Both examples show the distrust that the Ethiopian state has always had towards technological advancement," the blog says.

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Monday, 6 May 2013

I shall persevere! Letter from Kaliti by Eskinder Nega.

Addis Neger May 07,2013
I shall persevere!

Letter from Kaliti by Eskinder Nega.

So that I may do the deed
that my soul has to itself decreed
-Keats. poetry

Individuals can be penalised, made to suffer (oh, how I miss my child) and even killed. But democracy is a destiny of humanity which can not be averted. It can be delayed but not defeated.
No less significant, absent trials and tribulations, democracy would be devoid of the soul that endows it with character and vitality. I accept my fate, even embrace it as serendipitous. I sleep in peace, even if only in the company of lice, behind bars. The same could not be said of my incarcerator though they sleep in warm beds, next to their wives, in their home.
The government has been able to lie in a court of law effortlessly as a function of the moral paucity of our politics. All the great crimes of history, lest we forget, have their genesis in the moral wilderness of their times.
The mundane details of the case offer nothing substantive but what Christopher Hitchens once described as "a vortex of irrationality and nastiness." Suffice to say, that this is Ethiopia's Dreyfus affair. Only this time, the despondency of withering tyranny, not smutty bigotry, is at play.
Martin Amis wrote, quoting Alexander Solzhenitsyn, that Stalinism (in the 30s) tortured you not to force you to reveal a secret, but to collude you in a fiction. This is also the basic rational of the unfolding human rights crisis in Ethiopia. And the same 30s bravado that show-trials can somehow vindicate banal injustice pervades official thinking. Want to unlearn from history, we aptly repeat even its most brazen mistakes.
Why should the rest of the world care? Horace said it best: mutate nomine de te tabula narratur. "Change only the name and this story is also about you." Where ever justice suffers our common humanity suffers, too.
I will live to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It may or may not be a long wait. Whichever way events may go, I shall persevere!

Liberté, égalité, fraternité (French for "Libertyequalityfraternity (brotherhood))
History shall absolve democracy

Well said Eskinder Nega Let God give you the Grace as you stand
for the truth and as you
 refuse to stop no matter what you choose to endure.

ግንቦት 5፥2013 የአንድነት ፓርቲ ከፍተኛ አመራሮችና አባላት አንዷለም አራጌን እንዳይጠይቁ በልዩ ሀይል ተባረሩ

የትንሳኤን በዓል ምክንያት በማድረግ ወጣቱን ፖለቲከኛና የፓርቲው አመራር አንዷለም አራጌን እንዲሁም ሌሎችን የፖለቲካና የህሊና እስረኞች  ለመጠየቅ ቅዳሜ መጋቢት 26 ቀን 2005 ዓ.ም የአንድነት ፓርቲ ከፍተኛ አመራሮችና አባላት ቃሊቲ ቢሄዱም ለመጠየቅ እንዳይችሉ መደረጋቸውንና እስካፍንጫቸው በታጠቁ ልዩ ሃይሎች በግድ ከአካባቢው እንዲርቁ መደረጋቸውን የህዝብ ግንኙነት ክፍሉ አስታወቀ፡፡
እንደፓርቲው የህዝብ ግንኙነት ገለፃ ከፍተኛው ፍ/ቤት ይግባኝ ሰሚ ችሎት ወጣቱን ፖለቲከኛና ከፍተኛ አመራር አንዱአለም አራጌና ናትናኤል መኮንን ሽብርተኞች እንደሆኑና በሰላማዊ ትግል ሽፋን ሽብርተኝነትን እንደሚያራምዱ ተደርጎ የቀረበው ሀተታና ውሳኔ እጅግ ያሳዘናቸው በርካታ አመራሮችና አባላቱ በከፍተኛ መነሳሳትና ቁጭት ከ 20 በላይ የሚሆኑ የፓርቲው ሰዎች ከ 3፡00 ሰዓት ጀምሮ እንኳን አደረሳችሁ ለማለት ቢገኙም የተሰጣቸው ምላሽ አንዷለምን ምግብ ከሚያመላልሱለት ጥቂት ቤተሰቦቹ ውጭ ማንም መግባት እንደማይችል ተገልፆላቸው በታጠቁ ሃይሎች ከአካባቢው እንዲርቁ ተደርገዋል ብሏል፡፡
በዕለቱ ቃሊቲ እስርቤት ለመጠየቅ ከተገኙት መካከል ዶ/ር ነጋሶ ጊዳዳ፣ ኢ/ር ግዛቸው ሽፈራው፣ የተከበሩ አቶ ግርማ ሰይፉ፣ ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ ሀይለማርያም፣ አቶ አክሉ ግርግሬ፣ አቶ ሙላት ጣሰው፣ አቶ ዘካሪያስ የማነብርሃን፣ አቶ ተክሌ በቀለ፣ አቶ ትዕግስቱ አወሉ፣ አቶ ዳንኤል ተፈራና ሌሎችም የፓርቲው አመራሮችና አባላት እንደተገኙ የህዝብ ግንኙነት ያደረሰን መረጃ ያመለክታል፡፡
የማረሚያ ቤቱ የወቅቱ ተረኞች የስም ዝርዝራቸውን መታወቂያቸውን እያዩ ከተመዘገቡ በኋላ ከአቅማቸው በላይ እንደሆነ ገልጠው ወደ ዋናው የአስተዳደሩ የመግቢያ በር በመግባት ሃላፊዎችን እንዲያነጋግሩ ነግረዋቸው ወደዚያው በማምራት ቢጠይቁም እንዲጠብቁ ከነገሯቸው በኋላ የተሰጣቸው ምላሽ መጠየቅ አትችሉም የሚል ነው፡፡ ከዚህ በፊት በተለይ አንዷለም አራጌን ከጥቂት ቤተሰቦቹ በስተቀር ማንም እንዳይጠይቀው የተደረገ ሲሆን በተደጋጋሚ ቢያመለክትም ምንም ምላሽ ማግኘት አለመቻሉ ይታወቃል፡፡ ከዚህ በፊት ግን የበዓል ቀናት ብቻ የፓርቲው አመራሮችና የስራ ባልደረቦቹ ለተወሰኑ ደቂቃዎች በጅምላ እንዲጠይቁት ቢደረግም በዘንድሮው የትንሳዔ በዓል ግን የገጠማቸው በልዩ የታጠቁ ሃይሎች መባረር ሆኗል፡፡ ከወትሮው በተለየ ሁኔታ አካባቢውን ከፍተኛ ቁጥር ያላቸው ታጣቂዎች ወረውታል፡፡ ለመጠየቅ የመጡት መጠየቅ መብታቸው እንደሆነ ለማስረዳት ቢሞክሩም እነዚህ ሃይሎች መሳሪያቸውን በተጠንቀቅ በመያዝ ፀብ ለማስነሳት ሙከራ አድርገዋል በማለት የህዝብ ግንኙነት ክፍል ገልፆልናል ሲል ፍኖተ ነጻነት ጋዜጣ ግንቦት 5፥2013 ዘግቦል፡፡