Seyoum, a blogger for the politics and business news website Ethiothinkthank, and a lecturer at the Ambo University campus in Woliso, about 110 kilometers (68 miles) southwest of capital Addis Ababa, was arrested by federal police who searched his home and took his computer, according to press accounts.
Seyoum regularly used his blog on Ethiothinktank to comment on current affairs, including anti-government protests. His posts also include a letter he wrote to the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn about protests in the town of Weliso, where he was based.
The arrest came days after Seyoum was quoted in a New York Times article about Ethiopian marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa, who crossed his arms in a sign of solidarity with anti-government protesters at the finish line of the men’s marathon at the Rio Olympics.
International media frequently seek out Seyoum for comment on events in Ethiopia. In The New York Timesarticle, Seyoum was quoted as saying the athlete’s symbolic protest action had struck a blow against the Ethiopian government’s carefully constructed image as a thriving developing state. “This was what the government was afraid of,” he told the newspaper.
Seyoum had not been charged as of late 2016. An Ethiopian journalist who has been in touch with the blogger’s relatives told CPJ that Seyoum is being held at the Woliso prison. CPJ contacted Ethiopia’s Information Ministry in October 2016 to request an update in his case. The ministry did not respond.