Nairobi, April 28,
2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the Ethiopian
government's arrests of nine journalists in one of the worst crackdowns against
free expression in the country.
"With the latest arrests, Ethiopian authorities are turning the peaceful exercise of free expression into a crime," said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes.
On Sunday, a public prosecutor in the capital, Addis Ababa, accused the detainees--editor Asmamaw Hailegeorgis, freelancers Tesfalem Waldyes and Edom Kassaye, and bloggers Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnail Feleke, Zelalem Kibret, and Befekadu Hailu--of working with foreign human rights organizations and using social media to create instability in the country, according to news reports and local journalists. Tesfalem, Asmamaw, and Zelalem will have their next court hearing on May 7, while the rest will appear in court on May 8, the same sources said. The journalists have not been formally charged with a crime.