Ethiopia: Release Detained Journalists And Opposition Politicians Immediately

 

The Ethiopian authorities must immediately release two journalists from the Oromia News Network and three Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) officials who remain in custody a week after charges against them were dropped and the court ordered their release on 31 March.The authorities must desist from this intimidation, harassment and arbitrary detention and immediately and unconditionally release these five individuals. 

“The Ethiopian authorities continue to detain five people long after the court ordered their release. The authorities must desist from this intimidation, harassment and arbitrary detention and immediately and unconditionally release these five individuals,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

The five were charged with taking a photo at the Burayu police station, and for traffic offenses relating to an incident where a vehicle rammed into the back of the police car the arresting officers were using. The prosecutor later dropped the charges, stating none of the alleged acts were crimes under the country’s criminal law.

The police however continue to detain the individuals claiming there were irregularities with the names on their identification documents. However, they have not presented the five in court with any new charges.

The detained are Batir Filae, OLF Central Committee member; Gadaa Gabisa, OLF political officer; and Bilisuma Ararsa, OLF member. With them are Desu Dula, the Vice Director of the Oromia News Network (ONN) and Wako Nole, a journalist with the network.

For more information on the mounting harassment of OLF members and supporters, see links below.