12 March 2018

Ethiopian Blogger Jailed for Criticising Government

Addis Ababa — THE authoritarian Ethiopian government has arrested a prominent blogger in a violation linked to his criticism of the state of emergency declared in February.

Seyoum Teshome was arrested this past weekend at his home near the central Ambo University, where he is a lecturer. The Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia said his whereabouts were unknown by the time of publication.

Teshome has been critical in his blog of a six-month state of emergency Ethiopia declared in February. Under the state of emergency, authorities can carry out arrests and searches without warrant and close down media stations.

This was the second time that authorities ignored due process to detain Teshome. He was arrested in October 2016, days before a previous state of emergency was declared.

Robert Mahoney, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Deputy Executive Director, said President Mulatu Teshome's government should release his namesake.

"He should be released immediately and unconditionally," said Mahoney.

"Ethiopia cannot again use the cloak of a national emergency to round up journalists and stifle critical voices."

Ethiopia, the second-most populous nation in Africa (102 million people) after Nigeria, is battling civilian protests against human rights abuses, arrest of political activists and unequal redistribution of wealth.

Security forces have killed dozens of protesters.

The East African country last month declared a six-month nationwide state of emergency following the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.


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