Paris-headquartered Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges Ethiopian authorities to include two journalists and a citizen-journalist, who were arrested and convicted simply for exercising the right to inform.

(RSF)―As the Ethiopian government prepares to release hundreds of detainees, including opposition politicians and political activists, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the government to add three imprisoned journalists to the list of those about to be freed.

Two weeks after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn promised on 3 January to release an unspecified number of detainees in order to “foster national reconciliation,” the authorities have announced that they will release more than 500 detainees on the 17th of January and drop charges against them. RSF urges them to include the following two journalists and a citizen-journalist, who were arrested and convicted simply for exercising the right to inform.

Eskinder Nega, a reporter for the diaspora news website EthioMedia, was sentenced in July 2012 to 18 years in prison on a charge for plotting terrorist actions. Shortly before his arrest, he wrote an article criticizing the way the 2009 terrorism law was being used to imprison journalists.

Woubshet Taye, the deputy editor of the weekly Awramba Timeswas sentenced to 14 years in prison in January 2012 for allegedly planning terrorist attacks on infrastructure, telecommunications, and power lines. His last article criticized the ruling party’s methods. The justice ministry rejected his request for a pardon.

Zelalem Workagegnehu, a blogger for the diaspora website De Birhan, was sentenced to five years and four months in prison in 2016 on a charge of supporting terrorists.

“These three journalists all fell victim to the 2009 terrorism law,” RSF said. “Ever since this law took effect, terrorism charges have been systematically used to sentence journalists to long spells in prison. The authorities must stop using this law to restrict press freedom and should instead begin its national reconciliation process by freeing these three journalists.”

Continue reading this story at Reporters Without Borders
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