Press Release on imprisoned journalist, Reeyot Alemu
[PDF] The Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW) is gravely concerned about the imprisoned Ethiopian journalist, Reeyot Alemu’s health condition and allegations of mistreatment.
Reeyot Alemu, 32, is an internationally honored female journalist who has been an outspoken critic of the Ethiopian government’s human rights violations. She was arrested 2 years ago by the Ethiopian government and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Even though Reeyot Alemu’s charges have been reduced to 5 years, there is serious concern about her health and allegations of mistreatment while she is incarcerated. Some months ago Reeyot was placed in solitary confinement for 2weeks. A tumor in her breast remains untreated because she is denied access to medical care. In July 2013, a delegation of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights was denied access to Kaliti prison to meet with Reeyot Alemu.
In August 2013, it was reported that Reeyot wrote an open letter from prison criticizing Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and the International Women’s Media Foundation published it. Recent reports from Ethiopia have revealed that Reeyot Alemu was on hunger strike protesting mistreatment at her cell in Kaliti prison. In order to punish her for her hunger strike, the prison officials denied her all visitations by her relatives and friends. They later allowed visitation by all except by her fiancé and her younger sister. According to CPJ she has stopped the hunger strike after five days on Sunday, September 15th.
Reeyot is one among many journalists and political prisoners who are languishing in the notorious Kaliti prison. In 2012, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) named Ethiopia as one of the ten countries where press freedom suffered the most.
In 2012, the International Women’s Media Foundation honored Reeyot Alemu with its Courage in Journalism Award. In May 2013, UNESCO recognized Reeyot Alemu’s commitment to freedom of expression with its Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
CREW asks that the Ethiopian government ensure Reeyot’s safety and allow her access to medical treatment. Furthermore, visitation rights by her friends and family members as well as international human rights organizations should be allowed.
CREW appeals to all international human rights organizations to highlight Reeyot Alemu’s case and continue to advocate for her release from prison.