Sunday, June 24, 2012
UN worker jailed for 7 years in Ethiopia
An Ethiopian court has sentenced a United Nations guard to seven years in prison for communicating with a terrorist group.
Abdurahman Sheikh Hassan, who is Ethiopian, was earlier found guilty of participating in the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which is banned, reported BBC News. Hassan had helped in negotiating the release of two other UN workers who had been kidnapped by the group and, according to the judge, passed information to terrorists while doing so. He also said Hassan was guilty of collaborating with a senior member of ONLF called Sherif Badio, who was sentenced in absentia to life in prison for "serving as a leader or a decision maker in a terrorist organization."
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"Under the guise of his job, he has been passing information to a terrorist organization with the aim to help them," Judge Mulugeta Kidane told the court before delivering his verdict, according to BBC.
Hassan appeared in court on Friday holding Muslim prayer beads, reported News24. He shook his lawyer's hand as she translated the sentence to him, as he does not speak Ethiopia's Amharic language.
The head of UN security in Ethiopia's Ogaden region, Hassan was arrested last July after he participated in the negotiations to release two UN World Food Programme hostages held by the ONLF, according to News24.
Since Ethiopia introduced its new anti-terrorism law a year ago, two Swedish journalists have been sentenced to 11 years each in jail, while a case involving another 23 people is still under way, said the Africa Report.