Ethiopian journalist held without charge in military camp for past month
Update 12/12/2023: Detained since September 12, 2023, the journalist, program coordinator and co-founder of radio Tirita FM, Yehualashet Zerihun, was released by the Ethiopian authorities on October 26, 2023. No charges were brought against him.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is alarmed by the continuing persecution of journalists in Ethiopia. The latest victims include Yehualashet Zerihun, a radio journalist who was arrested a month ago and was transferred to a military camp where journalists and opposition politicians are held in appalling conditions.
Tirita FM’s co-founder and programme coordinator, Yehualashet Zerihun was arrested without a warrant at his home in the capital, Addis Ababa, on 12 September and was transferred a few days later to Awash Arba, a military camp 145 km east of the capital where political prisoners and other victims of the Ethiopian government’s crackdown are held.
No formal charge has been brought against this journalist and the reason for his arrest is still not known.
Yehualashet Zerihun is a victim of the persecution of those who speak freely. This journalist was arrested and transferred to a military camp without any charges being announced, in the absence of any legal procedure. The harassment of journalists has continued without respite since the start of the year and shows that the Ethiopian authorities are trying to suppress journalism. They must stop as a matter of the utmost urgency, and Yehualashet Zerihun must be released at once.
The authorities have had journalists in their sights ever since fighting intensified in the Amhara region and Ethiopia’s regional military forces were dismantled.
Other recent victims include Firew Tekle, the editor of the Ethio Selam YouTube channel, who was arrested at his home on 25 September and was taken to a police station in the capital. Accused of supporting militants in the Amhara region and using social media to support militias fighting the Ethiopian armed forces, he has been released on bail.
Yidnekachew Kebede, the founder and editor of the Negari TV YouTube channel, was arrested on 17 August and was tried arbitrarily for allegedly producing video content “with the intent of provoking violence.” He was finally released on bail without charge in early September.
Amhara Media Centre website editor Abay Zewdu was taken to the Awash Arba military camp following his arrest on 10 August, when no reason was given by the police. Alpha Media YouTube channel founder and editor Bekal Alamirew was accused of covering the conflict in the Amhara region when he was arrested on 6 August. Like Abay Zewdu, he is still being held.