United States urge Ethiopia to release journalists

25 April 2015 —

Marking the one year anniversary of the arrest of Ethiopia’s Zone 9 bloggers and three Journalists, April 25, the United States issued a statement urging Ethiopia to widen space for media and journalists.

“This is more than any other country in Africa. In July 2014, Ethiopian authorities charged the six bloggers and three journalists with terrorism under its Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. Their trial is ongoing,” said Marie Harf, Acting Spokesperson for the United States Department of State.

“These nine individuals—Befekadu Hailu, Zelalem Kibret, Atnaf Berhane, Natnael Feleke, Mahlet Fantahun, Abel Wabella, Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, Edom Kassaye, and Tesfalem Waldeyes—joined 10 other journalists already imprisoned in Ethiopia, bringing the total number of jailed journalists in Ethiopia to 19, including two Eritrean nationals.”

She also mentioned that Ethiopia also charged one other Zone 9 blogger—Soliyana Shimelis—who was out of the country when her colleagues were arrested, with terrorism, in absentia. Soliyana has been unable to return to Ethiopia and, along with dozens of other Ethiopian journalists, now lives in exile.

“Restrictions on press freedoms are inconsistent with the rights outlined in the Ethiopian constitution. Space for media, civil society organizations, and independent voices and views are crucial for democratic progress, development, and economic growth.”

“While we recognize a judicial process is underway, we urge the Ethiopian Government to release journalists and other individuals imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression, particularly those imprisoned who may merit humanitarian release on medical grounds. We urge Ethiopia to refrain from using its Anti-Terrorism Proclamation as a mechanism to curb the free exchange of ideas,” she added.

Share Button
Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any losses or damages that may have caused by using our services. EMF declines all responsibility for the contents of the materials stored by users. Each and every user is solely responsible for the posts.
Posted by on April 26, 2015. Filed under FEATURED. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to United States urge Ethiopia to release journalists

  1. sam

    April 26, 2015 at 9:04 PM

    The report states “space for media, civil society organizations, and independent voices and views are crucial for democratic progress, development and economic growth.” The Ethiopian government, especially after the 2005 election chose to downgrade this fundamental belief. The late Prime Minster openly questioned anyone to tell him how democracy is linked with economic growth. I do not blame him the shock of the 2005 election result was still on his mind. But the belief persists even after his passing. The Ethiopian government in denying this fundamental belief found itself in dilemma. The Ethiopian government badly needs the West economic handouts, and whenever Western diplomats and government officials visit Addis, the top politicians have to swear at every opportunity they get, how Ethiopia is building a democratic society from a scratch. well, the question arises what about the journalists you locked up, does not that undermine your very belief? Oh! no they are terrorists dressed up as journalists, they respond. Whenever Westerners are not in town, the Chinese miracle becomes their Bible. China is a one party system, but the envy of the world in their economic growth, they say. I am convinced the Ethiopian government politicians sincerely believe democracy is not necessary for economic growth. Anyone who believes otherwise is misguided in their opinion. But if that anyone is someone to be heard by writing , well, you guessed it, he or she is a terrorist.

  2. Namaga

    April 30, 2015 at 8:01 AM

    Free and Fair democratic election. Other African countries do not have to toil so much about electing or de-electing someone. Little or no suspicion of election rigging and what the issue comes up, it’s dealt with by re-count, in courts who order re-election or not. May be Kenyans, Zambians, Malawians, Nigerians, Ghanians are more intelligent than Ethiopians and we should not be ashamed to learn from their experiences.

    The 2005 election was a good one for the opposition but a bad one for the incumbent. I believe opposition exaggerated its wins. It also failed to file official complaint to the election board of Ethiopia or alternative law courts by remarking that the election board is part of the government and that it will not rule in its favor. They cut the process of justice short. They did not exhaust all avenues of justice for their cause.