Ethiopian police have re-arrested recently released bloggers and journalists such as journalists Eskinder Nega, Temesgen Dessalegn, our own blogger Zelalem Workagegnehu, bloggers Mahlet Fantahun, BefeQadu Z. Hailu, and politicians and activists such as Andualem Arage, Woineshet Molla, Addisu Getaneh, Yidenehackew Addis, Sintayehu Chekol and Tefera Tesfaye on March 25, 2018.
Most of the detainees have been arrested at some point in the past. Eskinder Nega and Andualem Arage have been released under the government’s “pardon” last month.
They were reportedly detained while attending a private “Thank you” ceremony in Jomo, Addis Abeba organised by local residents to thank the recently released politicians and journalists for standing up for human rights.
The cause of the arrest is unknown. They were reportedly being held in Lebu Police station first but were transferred to Nifassilk Police Station near Gotera Pepsi in Addis Abeba later on.
On March 26, 2018, the prisoners still remain in custody. They reportedly had nowhere to sleep since the police station doesnot have sleeping facilities.
Geneva based Ethiopian human rights organisation, Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE) said on a press statment today “AHRE condemns the government’s continued violation of the right to freedom of association and use of the new state of emergency to increase the repression, arrest and harassing of human rights defenders, journalists and the political opposition.”
The Associated Press reported that the arrest could relate to “displaying prohibited national flag or gathering en masse during the State of Emergency.”
The incumbent in Ethiopia declared State of Emergency which will last for the next 6-9 months in February 2018. Civilian and political administartions have been frozen and the militray under the auspicious of the so called the Command Post is ruling Ethiopia.
Added with the 19 academics, journalists and activists detained on Saturday in Bahir Dar, the total number of prominent people jailed over the weekend alone comes to 30. There are also reports that the Command Post have been arresting hundrads of youths in Amhara and Oromia regions since the declaration of the SoE.
Update: 12:30 PM Ethiopian time (16:30 GMT) Police have collected the fingerprints of the detained journalists and politicians and the indications are that they are going to be in custody at the Nifassilk Police Station near Gotera Pepsi for a second night in a row. Each detainee is being investigated individually.
Update: March 27, 2018 Morning: The detainees are all still behind bars and there are no signs of release so far.
Update: March 27, 2018 Late Afternoon: It has been nearly 72 hours or nearly three days since our blogger Zelalem Workagegnehu and 10 other journalists, bloggers and political activists were detained. They have not been brought before court nor were they charged.
Update: March 28, 2018 Morning: The prisoners slept inside the police officers’ offices for the past two days, now they are transferred to a prison cell in the station. It is now more than three days and they have not been brought before court or charged.