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Ethiopia

Yearbook 2015

Ethiopia. At the beginning of the year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported increasing repression against independent media in Ethiopia. HRW talked about a systematic attempt to silence critical votes ahead of the May elections. Journalists and even their families were exposed to threats and harassment. According to the report, many journalists and bloggers in recent years have been prosecuted and imprisoned with the help of anti-terrorism legislation. Many have fled the country, and independent newspapers have been closed. The regime rejected the report's details and claimed that the arrested had committed criminal acts.

2015 Ethiopia

According to COUNTRYAAH, many Ethiopians were among a group of at least 28 people who were murdered by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Libya in April, after refusing to convert from Christianity to Islam. Ethiopia announced three days of country grief.

In May, it was reported that the authorities arrested about 200 people suspected of smuggling people into Europe. Another 80 people were asked to participate in human trafficking across the Mediterranean.

Before the May elections, Amnesty reported that many members of registered parties had been arrested. Of the 547 MEPs, only one was in opposition to the ruling party's Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the others belonged to the party or loyal groups. The EPRDF had a strong grip on the social apparatus and there was no forum for open criticism of the regime. In the election, EPRDF received 500 seats, and the others went to support parties. As a result, there was no longer an opposition member in Parliament. The regime was accused of electoral fraud, which was rejected.

In June, 75 km of new railway was opened from Addis Ababa to Djibouti on the coast towards Aden Bay and the Red Sea. The railroad is built with Chinese assistance and greatly simplifies transport to the strategic port city. During the year, the first line of a commuter train system in the rapidly growing capital of Addis Ababa was also inaugurated. The project was symbolic of macroeconomic growth of about 10% per year, driven primarily by large construction projects. The pendulum was built with Chinese help and financing, and the trains are operated by Chinese companies.

In July, US President Barack Obama came to Ethiopia. Prior to his visit, the regime released six jailed journalists. In October, four journalists and bloggers who were accused of terrorism were released. The regime claimed that they planned attacks together with opposition Ethiopians in exile.

A Swedish doctor, Fikru Maru, who has been imprisoned in Ethiopia for over two years, appealed during the year to the Swedish government for help in being released. He was charged with bribery after taking medical equipment into Ethiopia. At least 75 people were killed in December when police opened fire on regime-critical protesters, according to Human Rights Watch.

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