Ethiopia frees more imprisoned journalists on the eve of Obama’s historic visit

July 9th, 2015 Print Print Email Email

Eight Ethiopian journalists have been released after more than a year in prison. They’d been accused of attempting to destabilize the state. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) tweeted the news:

The first three were released on Wednesday. On Thursday CPJ said charges against five more journalists had been dropped.

“The release of these five journalists is a welcome turn of events in Ethiopia, where the number of journalists in prison has steadily increased in recent years,” said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes in a statement.

Tesfalem Waldyes, Asmamaw Hailegeorgis, Zelalem Kibret, and six of their colleagues were arrested in April 2014 by Ethiopian authorities for “accepting money and working with foreign organizations and rights activists and using social media to destabilize the country,” a violation of the country’s controversial anti-terrorism law.

CPJ said there are twelve other journalists in prison in the country, making Ethiopia one of the worst places in the world for press freedoms.
Ethiopia also seems to have blocked access to CPJ’s site, at least according to this BBC reporter based in Addis Adaba:

The White House announced in June that president Barack Obama will become the first sitting US leader to visit Ethiopia, as part of a trip to east Africa later this month. However, the administration was quickly criticized by human-rights groups, who say his visit is at odds with “the president’s oft-repeated rhetoric about advancing human rights and strengthening African democracy and institutions.” The release looks like a concession by the regime to smooth the president’s path.

While Ethiopia boasts one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, it nevertheless has an abysmal human-rights record. Freedom House, the watchdog organization, ranks the country as one of the the worst performing in freedom, civil liberties and political rights.

  1. zemenn
    | #1

    obama is facing a challenge coming from the Ethiopian community in america. he in turn is turning the screw on the thugs of Tigre people liberation front. the pressure must continue, hypocrsy of the US and the crimes of Tplf must be exposed.

  2. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #2

    Kudos to those who made the decision to let this patriot go free. How about Obbo Eskinder? I suspect President Obama’s upcoming visit has an element in this decision to free these prisoners of conscience. This is a very pleasant music to my ears. I call upon the leaders of that nation to let those prisoners who were jailed for saying or writing something not appreciated by them. That is except those from the religious extremist groups.

    This is all good news. Now there is no such as half release of political prisoners. How about Obbo Eskinder and others like him? For his angelic son’s sake, please release him and others like him.

  3. Lea
    | #3

    To those who are just out from prison. you might think you are free for now but stay alerted because Woyane is on the look out to assassinate you.

  4. ZUZU
    | #4

    WHY DO NOT ALL THESE PEOPLE TELL THEIR OWN FAMILY MEMBERS AND ETHIOPIAN DIASPORAS IN GENERAL TO STAY AWAY FROM ETHIOPIA RATHER THAN TELLING ONE OFFICAL MR. OBAMA TO STAY AWAY FROM ETHIOPIA?

    WHY DON’T THEY EDUCATE THE ETHIOPIAN DIASPORAS ON HOW TO BOYCOTT THE CASH COW COMPANIES WHICH THE ETHIOPIAN REGIME RELIES UPON?

    IT IS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE PART OF THE BENEFIT RIPPERS OF ETHIOPIA’S GROWTH WHILE PRETENDING TO BE OPPOSITION.

    THE ETHIOPIAN-AMERICANS COUNCIL RECENTLY URGED MR. OBAMA TO MAKE KALITE HIS FIRST STOP. WHY DON’T THIS ETHIOPIAN-AMERICAN COUNCIL URGE
    ETHIOPIAN-AMERICANS THEMSELVES TO MAKE KALITE THEIR FIRST STOP WHILE
    VACATIONING IN ETHIOPIA RATHER THAN TRYING TO COUNCIL THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT
    MR. OBAMA HIMSELF. IT IS A SHAME VERY
    FEW ETHIOPIAN-DIASPORAS MADE KALITE THEIR FIRST STOP DURING THEIR VISIT TO
    ETHIOPIA SO FAR .

    MAYBE THE COUNCIL NEEDS TO CHANGE IT’S NAME TO AMERICAN
    COUNCIL BECAUSE I DON’T SEE OR HEAR NO COUNCILING BEING RECEIVED BY
    ETHIOPIAN-AMERICANS FROM THIS SO CALLED ETHIOPIAN-AMERICAN COUNCIL. I LIVE IN
    THE BAY AREA WHERE THIS COUNCIL IS BASED IN AND I CAN SAY FOR A FACT THIS
    INDIVIDUALS WITHIN THE COUNCIL WILL RUN TO THE AID OF A FERENJI RATHER THAN
    HELPING THEIR OWN FEELOW ETHIOPIAN-AMERICAN. THEY GIVE THEIR BACK TO
    ETHIOPIAN-AMERICANS WHO SEEM TO BE NEEDING COUNCILING UNLESS THEY ARE RELATED
    TO SOME COMMUNIST’S GENERATION IHAPA ERA MATRYTS.

    THEY GIVE MONEY TO ELECTED OFFICIALS OF USA AND DONOT EVEN
    TRY TO ADDRESS THE ETHIOPIAN AMERICANS THAT ARE DIEING LIKE FLIES AROUND IN BAY
    AREA IN OUR COMMUNITY FOR LACK OF PROPER MEDICAL HELP .WE HAVE MANY ELDERLY
    ETHIOPIANS WHO ARE LIVING AS UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS HIDING FROM THE GOVERNMENT
    IN THOSE SO CALLED SANCTUARY CITIES WITHIN USA, EVENTHOUGH THEY CONTINUE TO BE MISTREATED BY THEIR DOCTORS SINCE THEY ARE
    BEING SEEN AS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WHO CROSS THE BOARDER TO GET FREE MEDICAL
    HELP. THE BAY AREA ETHIOPIAN COMMUNITIES
    KEEP ENCOURAGING THESE ELDERS TO
    REMAIN UNDOCUMENTED RATHER THAN DOCUMENTED HOPING THEY WILL NOT BE TOO MUCH OF A
    BURDEN FOR THEM AND THIS COUNCIL LOOKS THE OTHER WAY.

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