Back in November, Jawar Mohammed of the Oromia Media Network (OMN) said he thinks that the Ethiopian government wants him dead.
“Right now, I am probably the most wanted person by the Ethiopian government and I think the government is willing to kill me if they have a chance,” Mohammed told the International Business Times. “Every time I appear on television, for the last few months, the government is all over the place condemning me and calling me a terrorist, an agitator and an enemy of the state.”
This week the Ethiopian government charged Mohammed with being exactly that, despite the fact that he has lived in the United States for years, and operates the independent – and in Ethiopia, banned – news organization from the American Midwest.
On Thursday, his name appeared in a file of charges that were made public, including those against respected and longtime Oromo leader Dr. Merera Gudina.
Though the jailed Merera did not appear in court as scheduled, he faces the charges following a November 30 arrest, after he delivered a speech to the European Parliament in Brussels and met with Ethiopian opposition leader Berhanu Nega and Oromo Olympic athlete Feyisa Lilesa.
A widely circulated photo that showed them together was evidence, Ethiopian authorities said, that Merera had violated the country’s current six-month state of emergency rules by associating with known agitators.
Despite Merera’s denial of terrorism activity, the charges included “creating pressure against the government,” “threatening society through the means of violence” and attempting to “disrupt constitutional order,” according to Ethiopian media.
Yet the court didn’t stop there, and also applied some of the charges to both Berhanu Nega and Mohammed in absentia.
Mohammed, a 30-year-old native of Dhummuga, remained defiant about Ethiopia’s claim that the OMN broadcasts have fueled the protests and served as an outlet for terrorist organizations. He plans his next meeting of the Oromo community in the diaspora on Sunday, to discuss the deaths of Oromo civilians at home.
To learn more about the OMN network and broadcasts, see this link.