(CIVICUS)―In a letter to the Ethiopian Prime Minister-designate, a coalition of over 40 civil society organizations express their concern regarding the recent arrests of journalists and human rights defenders
Repression of political activists continues: Timeline of three major arrests in March 2018
- On March 8, Ethiopian authorities arrested Seyoum Teshome, a prominent blogger (frequent contributor to Ethiothinkthank.com) and a lecturer at Ambo University. Seyoum was detained for three months under the previous State of Emergency, and he is currently being held at Maekelawi Prison in Addis Ababa.
- On March 15, the Command Post arrested Taye Dendea, an official at the Oromia Justice Bureau, after he questioned during media interviews and on Facebook the military’s narrative that the killing of civilians in Moyale was a mistake.
- On March 25, Ethiopian police arrested 11 opposition activists, including previously freed detainees, after they displayed a flag that differs from the official national banner. Those arrested include four members of the opposition Blue Party, two journalists including Eskinder Nega, the former vice chairman of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party Andualem Arage, and three members of the Zone 9 blogging collective, according to the chairmen of the two opposition parties.
The undersigned international, regional and national human rights and development organizations write to express our grave concern over the recent arrest of 11 Ethiopian journalists, bloggers and political opposition leaders amid a new crackdown on fundamental freedoms. Such measures undermine the Ethiopian government’s international human rights obligations as well as recent political commitments to initiate an era of widespread democratic political reform. As you assume your position as Prime Minister, we urge the Ethiopian Government to immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders, political activists and journalists, including the 11 individuals detained this week.
Read the letter here: Joint letter to new Ethiopian Prime Minister on recent arrests of journalists and human rights defenders
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