An Ethiopian court handed out heavy jail sentences ranging from 14 years to life to three journalists and two politicians on terrorism charges on January 26.
US-based journalist Elias Kifle was sentenced in absentia to life in prison, while two other journalists, Woubshet Taye and Reeyot Alemu, were given 14-year terms.
Opposition leader Zerahun Gebrezabier was sentenced to 17 years in prison, while Hirut Kifle, accused of having links to Elias, received 19 years.
Elias runs the US-based online Ethiopian Review, while Woubshet was the editor-in-chief of the now defunct Awramba Times.
Reeyot is a well-known Ethiopian columnist. All five were found guilty last Friday of participating in a "terrorist organisation and planning a terrorist act".
"They passed the punishment according to criminal law and the anti-terror proclamation," the prosecutor said.
Rights groups condemned the sentences, with Amnesty International calling for the immediate release of those convicted.
"There is no evidence that they are guilty of any criminal wrongdoing," Amnesty's Ethiopia researcher Claire Beston said in a statement.
"We believe that they are prisoners of conscience, prosecuted because of their legitimate criticism of the government. They must be released immediately and unconditionally."
Reeyot's father protested at the sentence.
"The conviction was not fair, it was not according to the law or the defences submitted to the court," Alemu Gobebo Reeyot said.
The five were charged under Ethiopia's anti-terror law, which rights groups have accused of being vague and far-reaching.
In a separate court case, blogger Eskinder Nega, who had called for peaceful protest, faces the maximum punishment, a death penalty sentence, after a judge on Jan. 23 found him guilty on terror charges.
"I'm innocent," he yelled at reporters outside the courtroom after the hearing.
In December, two Swedish journalists were found guilty on terror charges after they were arrested with members of an outlawed group. They were sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Ethiopia has one of the most restricted media in the world and the highest number of journalists living in exile, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Up to 200 people, among them journalists and opposition politicians and members, have been arrested in Ethiopia under last year's anti-terrorism proclamation.