By PEN Canada. The Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega will receive PEN Canada’s One Humanity Award on the opening night of the 36th International Festival of Authors (IFOA 36). The award, valued at $5,000, is presented at PEN’s annual gala to a writer whose work transcends the boundaries of national divides and inspires connections across cultures.
Mr. Nega, an independent journalist, was arrested in September 2011 under the provisions of Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation for criticizing the detention of a prominent government critic, and disputing the government’s assertion that detained journalists were terror suspects. At his trial the judge reportedly accused Nega of using “the guise of freedom” to “attempt to incite violence and overthrow the constitutional order” through a popular revolt similar to those of the Arab Spring.
Convicted on June 27, 2012, Nega was sentenced to 18 years in prison. In December 2012 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said the sentence violated free expression and due process rights under international law. The UN group called for his immediate release. On May 2, 2013, the Ethiopian Federal Supreme Court upheld both the conviction and the sentence. Read more