27 April 2014

Ethiopia: Thirty Six Hours Later, No Official Statement About Ethiopian Jailed Bloggers, Three Journalists

Photo: Zone9/Facebook
A graphic from Zone9's Facebook page.

Addis Ababa — Thirty six hours after the unprecedented arrest by Ethiopian security forces of six independent bloggers writing for Zone9 blog post and three journalists no official statement was given by concerned authorities.

Journalist Tesfalem Wadyes, freelance journalist writing for the weekly English Fortune and the monthly Addis Standard, journalist Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, senior editor at an influential Amharic weekly magazine Addis Guday, and Edom Kassaye, who previously worked at state daily Addis Zemen Newspaper and an active member of the Ethiopian Environmental Journalists Association (EEJA) and a close associate of Zone9 bloggers were all rounded up and taken by security forces on Friday night to Maakelawi, a notorious central investigation office located in the heart of Addis Ababa.

Members of the Zone9 bloggers include young and educated individuals with different background who come together to blog with a motto "we blog because we care".

They are: Atnaf Berhane IT professional, Mahlet Fantahun, Data expert, Befekadu Hailu from St. Mary's University College, Abel Wabella, from Ethiopian Airlines, Natnail Feleke from the Construction and Business Bank, and Zelalem Kibret, from Ambo University.

According to the blog, Horn Affairs, the police have served court warrants to the employees of "at least two of the detainees: To the managers of the Construction and Business bank in the case of Natnael Feleke and to the vice President of Ambo University in the case of Zelalem Kiberet."

After what the members said was a threat against the blog, Zone9 blog has ceased operating for the last several months and has just re-started blogging last week.

Following the news, Ethiopian social media participants have changed their profile pictures to the one seen here as many have continued expressing their angers and frustrations. As of yet, Addis Standard's repeated attempts to reach authorities were to no avail.

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