Jailed Ethiopian journalist loses appeal over rebel ties

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA, Jan 8 (Reuters) - An Ethiopian journalist lost
an appeal on Tuesday against a five-year prison sentence for her
role in promoting subversive plots by a rebel group.

Reyot Alemu, a columnist at the now-defunct Feteh newspaper,
and fellow journalist Woubishet Taye were found guilty a year
ago of conspiring to participate in attacks under the orders of
rebel groups and sentenced to 14 years behind bars. The pair
were arrested in July 2011.

An appeals court reduced Reyot's sentence to five years in
August and dropped two of the three charges to leave just the
promotion of "terrorist activity".

A subsequent appeal to dismiss the case altogether, however,
was rejected on Tuesday and she faces another three years and
three months in prison, having already served more than 19

Ethiopia has been accused by human rights watchdogs of
clamping down on its media under the guise of national security,
a charge the government denies.

Critics cite an anti-terrorism law passed after several
bombings in 2009, with sentences of 10 to 20 years for anyone
caught publishing information that could induce readers to take
part in acts of terrorism.

Government officials deny targeting journalists because of
their reporting or political affiliations.

Woubishet and Reyot were found to have links to Ginbot 7,
one of five groups the government has banned as "terrorist"

Terrorism charges have not been limited to journalists -
dozens of opposition politicians and supporters have been
detained since last year, according to rights watchdogs.

The Horn of Africa country pardoned and released two Swedish
journalists last year after previously sentencing them to 11
years on charges of assisting an outlawed rebel group.

Woubishet is still in prison and also seeking a pardon.

(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by George Obulutsa and
Alison Williams)