Tamrat Negera has not appeared in court yet and families do not know his whereabouts
Four days after news of his arrest, the whereabouts of Tamirat Negera, journalist and founder of Terara Network, remains unknown. His family is worried.
Terara Network on Monday said “his families disclosed that they are worried because they are not informed where he is arrested.”
They have not been able to deliver clothing, food and medications for Tamrat.
He was arrested on Friday from his residence in the capital Addis Ababa. He was first taken to the 3rd Division Police Station but was later reportedly transferred to Oromia police whose jurisdiction does not include Addis Ababa city.
On Saturday, his families headed to Oromia police around Sidist Kilo and Global branches of the Oromia police but they could not meet him there either.
According to reports from Terara Network, they were even told to check the police stations in Burayu and Gelan Condominiums. They have checked them all but could not still see journalist Tamerat Negera.
On Monday, they had to check with the Third Division Police Station of Addis Ababa Police. But they were told that they might have the wrong address of Gelan Police station. It also confirmed that Oromia police are handling his case.
The family has reported the case to Ethiopian Human Rights Commission with a request to follow up the case.
Journalist Tamrat Negera has been a vocal critic of radicalised ethnic nationalism and ethnic federalism. He has been an advocate of a Federal system where the rights, mobility and right to work of Ethiopians, irrespective of ethnic background, is respected in all parts of Ethiopia. He has been also a vocal critic of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government handling of the security crisis that led to the massacre of thousands of civilians in the Wollega and Benishangul Gumuz areas of Ethiopia, among others.
His arrest has caused outcry among Ethiopians in social media. On Sunday, Vision Ethiopia, U.S. based advocacy organisation issued a statement calling the government to stop arbitrary detention of local journalists and called for the release of journalists recently arrested.
In addition to Tamrat, the government has also arrested Meaza Mohammed, former Abay Media journalist who recently launched Roha media, a digital media.
A state of emergency is in place in Ethiopia after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) controlled Dessie and Kombolcha , from which they are dislodged now, at the beginning of November this year.
While the state of emergency is not opposed by Ethiopians, the apparent tendency of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government to silence freedom of expression by arresting critical voices is triggering opposition.
Ethiopians in the country and abroad have been uniting to provide much needed support to the government at a time when powerful state actors and mainstream media outlets in the west out undue pressure in connection with the war against the TPLF terrorist groups.
Some express fear that unpopular and useless actions from PM Abiy Ahmed’s administration might damage the sense of solidarity for Ethiopia’s cause.
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