Wednesday, September 28, 2022

AP-accredited freelance journalist detained in Ethiopia AP News

NAROBI, Kenya (AP) — An Associated Press-accredited independent video journalist in Ethiopia has been detained by police in the capital, Addis Ababa, the news organization said on Wednesday.

Emir Aman Kiaro was detained under the country’s new war-related emergency powers on 28 November after returning home from a reporting trip. He has not been charged.

Officials from the Ethiopian Media Authority, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government offices have not responded to the AP’s repeated requests for information about him since his detention. State media reported his detention on Wednesday, citing federal police, and said he was accused of “serving the purposes” of a terrorist group. Local journalists Thomas Angida and Adisu Muluneh have also been taken into custody, the report said.

Federal police inspector Tesfaye Olani told state media that the journalists violated the state of emergency law and Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law and could face seven to 15 years in prison for violating.

In a statement, AP executive editor Julie Pace urged that Kiaro be freed: “The Associated Press is deeply concerned that AP freelancer Amir Aman Kiaro has been detained by the Ethiopian government, accused of promoting terrorism. These are baseless allegations. Kiaro is a freelance journalist who has done important work on all sides of the conflict in Ethiopia. We call on the Ethiopian government to immediately release Kiaro.”

Ethiopia’s government declared a state of emergency in November, including sweeping powers of detention, a year after the war, as rival forces from the country’s northern Tigre region, in collaboration with the Oromo Liberation Army, moved closer to the capital. Went. The government this year declared both the Tigre Force and the OLA as terrorist groups.

Thousands of people have died in the war that started in November 2020. Tigre forces say they are pressuring the government to lift a deadly blockade on their territory, but also want Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to step aside. There has been little progress in mediation efforts by the United States and the African Union for a ceasefire.

Kiaro has covered both sides of the war for AP this year, including groundbreaking reporting on alleged mass killings by Tigre forces in the community of Chenna Teklehamnot after fighters moved into Ethiopia’s neighboring Amhara region in recent months.

In late November, the country’s emergency command sought to restrict media reporting on the war, prohibiting the sharing of non-official information on “military-related movements, results and situations of the war”. Foreign media have been banned from the Tigre for most of the war, with communications severance.

The government-created Ethiopian Human Rights Commission said on Wednesday it was monitoring the condition of four other local journalists detained in recent weeks. Last month, it said it was concerned about the conditions of detention of thousands of people who were swept away by the state of emergency. It urged the authorities to immediately release those detained without “evidence establishing reasonable grounds for suspicion”.

Commission spokesmen did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Kiaro.

“Ethiopia has again become one of the worst jailers of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa,” the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement last week, three years after the prime minister took office. hostile” and free journalists have since been wiped out as part of his government’s broader political reforms.


Follow AP stories about the war in Ethiopia


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