Immediate release Ethiopian journalists Reeyot Alemu, Woubshet Taye, Eskinder Nega, Yusuf Getachew and Solomon Kebede
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Dear International Federation of Journalists,
We would like to take the opportunity to call your attention to the case of the Ethiopian journalists Reeyot Alemu, Woubshet Taye, Eskinder Nega, Yusuf Getachew and Solomon Kebede.
Ms Reeyot Alemu was arrested on June 21, 2011. Alemu worked for numerous, often short-lived independent publications. At least four news outlets to which she contributed were forced out of business by the Ethiopian government. In 2010, she founded her own publishing house and a monthly magazine called Change, both of which were shuttered. Alemu taught English classes at an Addis high school. She gave part of her salary to her students from poor families. Alemu is one in a number of journalists who have been prosecuted under the vaguely worded and broad-reaching anti-terrorism laws passed by the Ethiopian legislature in 2009.
Under this law, Alemu was sentenced to 14 years in prison and fined 33,000 birrs. In August 2012, an appeals court subsequently reduced the 14-year prison sentence to 5 years and dropped most of the terrorism charges against her.
Mr Woubshet Taye, deputy editor of the Awramba Times, has been in jail for more than two years. He was detained in June 2011and held incommunicado before being convicted on terrorism charges and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment in January 2012. Woubshet Taye , former deputy editor of the Amharic-language weekly Awramba Times , was transferred to a detention centre in Ziway, 130 km southeast of the capital, Addis Ababa.
Mr Eskinder Nega is an Ethiopian journalist and blogger who has been jailed seven times by the government of Meles Zenawi. As editor of the newspaper Satenaw, Eskinder was arrested on 28 November 2005 following demonstrations against the results of the Ethiopian general election on 15 May 2005, which saw Meles stay in power but were alleged to be fraudulent. Eskinder was charged with the capital offenses of treason, "outrages against the Constitution" and "incitement to armed conspiracy".
Eskinder was found guilty and served seventeen months' imprisonment before being released by presidential pardon at the end of 2007. Eskinder's wife, journalist Serkalem Fasil, was also detained for seventeen months, giving birth to their son Nafkot while still imprisoned. Following the conviction, Eskinder lost his license to practice journalism, and his newspaper was closed by authorities in 2007.
He nonetheless continued to publish online. Eskinder was arrested again on 14 September 2011. After delaying a decision on seven occasions, Ethiopia's Supreme Court upholds Eskinder Nega 's 18 years sentence.
Mr Yusuf Getachew has been charged with plotting acts of "terrorism, intending to advance a political, religious or ideological cause" by force; and the "planning, preparation, conspiracy, incitement and attempt of terrorist acts." He had been arrested on 20 July 2012, along with 28 protesters, including nine prominent Muslim leaders. Yusuf Getachew is detained pending trial and held without charge since January 2013.
Mr Solomon Kebede. The 17 january 2013 Ethiopian security authorities arrested Solomon Kebede, managing editor of the now-defunct paper Ye Muslimoch Guday (”Muslim Affairs”), and took him to the Maekelawi federal detention center for covering Muslims' protest. Solomon Kebede is detained pending trial and held without charge.
A free journalist allows the change and growth of a nation. We are asking a strong diplomatic pressure for immediate release of the Ethiopian journalists Reeyot Alemu, Woubshet Taye, Eskinder Nega, Yusuf Getachew and Solomon Kebede.
In awaiting your reply, be assured of our most respectful sentiments.
The Immediate release Ethiopian journalists Reeyot Alemu, Woubshet Taye, Eskinder Nega, Yusuf Getachew and Solomon Kebede petition to Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia was written by Mariacarmela Ribecco and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.