Ethiopian judge finds terror suspects guilty By AFP | Tuesday, January 1  2013 at  16:42

A heavily armed Al-Shabaab Islamist insurgent keeps watch along a street in Mogadishu in this file photo. A Kenyan is among 10 people convicted by an Ethiopian court of having links to the Al-Qaeda terrorist group and of money laundering.  FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

An Ethiopian court has convicted ten people of having links to the Al-Qaeda terrorist group and money laundering.

This is the first trial in Ethiopia for Al-Qaeda suspects and all but a Kenyan pleaded not guilty.

The convicts, who were found guilty by Judge Bahru Darcha, were charged in April under Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism legislation.

While the crimes carry a maximum penalty of death, prosecutors requested a sentence of life in prison with defence lawyers saying that they would appeal.

The court will hand the convicts their sentence on January 15.

Rights groups have criticised Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law for being vague and used to stifle peaceful dissent.

Since introduced in 2009, all people accused under the legislation have been found guilty, including two Swedish journalists who were jailed last year and pardoned in September.

Prominent blogger Eskinder Nega and leading opposition member Andualem Arage were among 24 people convicted on terrorism-related charges last year.

Both are appealing the ruling.