Target: Members of the United States Congress
Goal: Help free wrongfully imprisoned blogger Eskinder Nega
The Ethiopian Supreme Court recently upheld the conviction of award-winning Ethiopian blogger and journalist Eskinder Nega. He now faces 18 years in prison thanks to a vague Ethiopian law. Ever since his arrest in September of 2011 on charges of “terrorism” (i.e. speaking out against his home country’s oppressive government), several major free expression groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, PEN America, and the Committee to Protect Journalists have come together to campaign for his release.
Nega has become an international symbol of press freedom and power after refusing to let the Ethiopian government threaten and bully him into silence when he chose to write extensively about the oppressive political situation in the country. After his government shut down his all four of his attempts to start a newspaper and revoked his journalism license, Nega turned to the digital world, penning several online blogs and other articles.
Despite Ethiopia’s constitution, which reads, “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression without any interference. This right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any media of his choice,” Nega had been jailed countless times before his eventual arrest under charges of terrorism in 2011.
Help urge the United States Congress to step in and see that Nega is released. Tight political ties with Ethiopia cultivated by the U.S. Government could allow Congress to champion the cause of Ethiopian bloggers like Nega who have been wrongfully imprisoned by the Ethiopian government.
Dear United States Congress members,
Freedom should be a right inherent in all people from the second they are born, not a token gift that can be granted and revoked at the whims of an individual’s government. Ethiopian blogger Eskinder Nega, whose only crime was his refusal to stay silent in the face of oppression, has been wrongfully held by his government for over a year now and thanks to a ruling from the Ethiopian Supreme Court, he is now facing an 18-year prison sentence.
I urge you to step in and make sure that this gross misuse of power doesn’t stand for another day. Men should not be punished for their desire to expose the truth and governments should not be allowed to control and silence their citizens through intimidation. By signing this petition letter, I am expressing my hope that you’ll do what is right and that you’ll remember Nega’s famous words: “The momentum is now on the side freedom. Freedom is partial to no race. Freedom has no religion. Freedom favors no ethnicity. Freedom discriminates not between rich and poor countries. Inevitably, freedom will overwhelm Ethiopia.”
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mikkel R via Flickr