zone 9 bloggers terrorism
The six bloggers are part of Zone 9, an Ethiopian blog that focus human rights, social justice and corruptionFacebook / Zone9

The Ethiopian Federal High Court has announced it will try six bloggers and three independent journalists charged with terrorism.

The defendants were arrested in April 2014 and are accused of plotting with the Ginbot 7, a political party classified as a terrorist organisation in Ethiopia.

The six bloggers are part of Zone 9, a blog that focus on human rights, social justice and corruption.

The arrest prompted netizens to voice their dissent on social media under the hashtag #Freezone9bloggers.

This is not the first time that the country has used its anti-terrorism law to target media and apply censorship, prompting the outrage of NGOs and other governments.

Ethiopia implemented anti-terrorism legislation in 2009. The law was deemed "deeply flawed" by Human Rights Watch.

Many associations, including the UN, have criticised Ethiopia for using its anti-terrorism law to curb freedom of expression and target the media.

Last September, the UN issued a statement urging the Ethiopian government to stop misusing the law, used by leaders to target journalists who are then imprisoned, sometimes tortured and are not guaranteed a fair trial.

Following the High Court announcement, made on 28 January, the US also expressed concern over the repeated misuse of the anti-terrorism law.

"The [court's] decision undermines a free and open media environment—critical elements for credible and democratic elections, which Ethiopia will hold in May 2015", the statement said.

"The use of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation in previous cases against journalists, activists, and opposition political figures raises serious questions about the implementation of the law and about the sanctity of Ethiopians' constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of the press and freedom of expression."