Ethiopia resumes 2005 press crackdown; second journalist arrested and another vanishes

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Reeyote Alemu, a young journalist, in an incommunicado


By Anko Zuta , Blogger of De Birhan Blogspot


22/6/2011

In manner that seems to have resumed the worst press crackdown of 2005 in Ethiopia, the ruling TPLF/EPRDF regime has arrested two journalists from the two remaining independent newspapers;Awramba Times and Fiteh (Justice) in a difference of two days.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported yesterday that Police picked up Woubishet Taye, deputy editor of the leading independent weekly Awramba Times, at his home in the capital, Addis Ababa, at 3 p.m. on Saturday and confiscated several documents, cameras, CDs, and selected copies of Awramba Times.

And today it has been reported that one of the few female free press journalists in Ethiopia, Reyote Alemu , columnist and reporter of Fiteh Newspaper was arrested yesterday. She had appeared in court today but was sent back to prison denied bail.Her house was searched for seven hours before she was taken to prison .

Reyote was also an Editor on Addis Press Newspaper and was a member of Andent Party before she finally left the party last year. She has also been teaching English language at a secondary school in Addis Abeba until she was arrested.Both Woubshet and Reyote are being held incommunicado and solitary confinement at the federal investigation center at Maekelawi Prison in Addis Abeba.

”The arrest of these journalists has caused fear and chaos within the Newspapers and families of the young journalists.If the current crackdown continues , the history of ‘the Ethiopian free press’ dooms not to return at least within the current administration. ” a journalist in Addis Abeba opines.
A new development , Addis Neger Online reported that Kelelaw Kidane,another columnist of Fiteh (Justice) Newspaper, has disappeared since last Friday (17-6-2011).
In repressive Ethiopia, journalist disappearances are a rarity. In majority of the cases, the government is the perpetrator of the repression and abuse.

De Birhan calls the Meles Zenawi government to release these journalists now and advises Ethiopians to help the families of the arrested journalists.

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