By Hailegebriel Endeshaw
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) called for the unconditional release of suspects who were arrested for “crimes” that were allegedly committed by means of mass media. The Commission asked the government security forces to refrain from arresting and harassing leaders and followers of political parties, media personnel and activists.
EHRC said this in a statement it released today, 15 April 2023, regarding the arrest and harassment targeting mass media professionals, activists including leaders and followers of political parties. Expressing concern on the arrest and harassment being carried out, the Commission disclosed in its statement that eight journalists and one activist were detained within a month.
Founder and executive member of Ethiopian Media Professionals Association and organizer and editor of “Arat Kilo Media”, Journalist Dawit Begashaw who was detained in Bahir-Dar Town, was one of the detainee media professionals mentioned by EHRC. The Commission has also stated that Genet Asmamaw, Aragaw Sisay, Tewodros Asfaw, Getnet Ashagre, Beyene Welde, Senait Ayalew and Samuel Assefa were also detained over the last month.
The political critic, activist and founder of “Ethio-Niqat”, You Tube Medium, Meskerem Aberra who was arrested last week by the Federal Police was the other detainee listed in the Commission’s statement. EHRC said that of the detained journalists some were mistreated during their incarceration.
EHRC said that among the detainees, there were suspects who had been detained without a court warrant; some were arrested against the media law, there were also others kept in custody for a long period without appearing before court. The Commission has also mentioned certain defendants whose cases appeared before court.
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