Monday, May 11, 2009
I did a phone interview today with Radio France Internationale concerning the arrest of Ethiopians charged with plotting to overturn the government. RFI asked what I thought of the upcoming trial. I responded that the two dozen or so persons arrested did not seem to me to have the capability to overturn the government. One of the alleged leaders is a professor at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania who is married to an American. I suggested it was not possible to orchestrate a coup plot from such a long distance. The group of persons arrested has been highly critical of the government. I suggested that the arrests may be more a result of the group's hostile rhetoric than any real attempt to change the government. As for the trial, the process would follow Ethiopian law. At the same time, the judiciary is not totally independent in Ethiopia and it would stretch the point to conclude that the trial will be free and fair as we understand the process in the West.