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(Jan 02, 2008) Two Ethiopian anti-poverty activists were recently convicted and sentenced to two–and-a-half years in prison for inciting violence in connection with the civil unrest that claimed about 190 lives in the aftermath of the Ethiopia's 2005 elections. Because the defendants have been in prison for more than two years during their trial, their release on parole is anticipated.

The standard of evidence used to convict the defendants is one used for civil and not criminal cases. "Despite the lack of evidence proving their involvement in leadership and participation during the unrest, no evidence could be found to refute accusations of incitement … As a result, the court has found them guilty …," Judge Mohammed Aminsani told the court, according to an AFP news report. The standard of evidence used for these cases appears to be one that would normally be applied in civil cases under the Ethiopian legal system, the "preponderance of evidence standard" as oppose to the standard that requires the prosecution to prove the charges "beyond reasonable doubt," which is applied in criminal cases. ( Ethiopia Activists Found Guilty, BBC NEWS, Dec. 24, 2007, available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/ africa/7159253.stm .)

Author: Hanibal Goitom More by this author
Topic: Civil disobedience More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Ethiopia More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 01/02/2008