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Blogger files lawsuit against Ethiopia’s government

By , IT in government editor
Africa , 04 Aug 2014

Blogger files lawsuit against Ethiopia’s government

US-based blogger Elias Kifle has filed a $120 million counter lawsuit against Ethiopia’s government, US lawfirm DLA and Saudi Arabian billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi.

Kifle, a blogger for Ethiopianreview.com, says he filed the lawsuit in Atlanta’s US District Court for the Northern Georgia District.

Kifle alleges that Al Amoudi, the government of Ethiopia, DLA Piper, the deputy prime minister of Ethiopia Debretsion Gebremichael, and the Ethiopian government’s chief of security Getachew Assefa of “serially harassing” him.

Kifle's lawsuit follows a defamation claim filed against him by Saudi Arabian billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi's business partner, Jemal Ahmed.

Kifle stands; though, accused of falsely reporting that Ahmed -- who owns farms in Ethiopia that exports farm products to Saudi Arabia through his companies Saudi Star and Horizon Plantations -- is engaged in human trafficking and the illegal grabbing of land from small farmers.

And Kifle says that since writing his report on Ahmed, he has been harassed, “hindering his constitutionally protected work, causing emotional distress to his family, and causing severe economic harm to him.”

“Mr Kifle also accuses DLA Piper, a large law firm with 4,000 lawyers, of extortion, racketeering and a relentless campaign of harassment on behalf of the Ethiopian government and its supporters,” says Kifle in a statement.

In his lawsuit, Kifle alleges “civil rights violations,” “abuse of process,” and “economic harm” against him.

Blogging controversies in Ethiopia

Meanwhile, a case filed against six bloggers from the group of Ethiopian bloggers and activists, Zone 9, and three journalist has been adjourned to August 20 in Ethiopia.

The court case was scheduled to start today but has since been moved to later this month.

A tweet from @zone9ners reads: “Closed to public trial of @zone9ners and three Journalists case adjourned for Aug 20, 2014.” #Ethiopia #FreeZone9Bloggers

The bloggers and journalists have been charged under Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law.

They are accused of posting articles about the state of the country and human rights issues.

Earlier this year, ITWeb Africa also reported that watchdog group Privacy International has filed a criminal complaint in the UK alleging that Ethiopia has been spying on a political refugee’s digital communications.

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