Tamrat Gemeda

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Gemeda, a journalist with the private Amharic weekly Seife Nebelbal, completed his initial jail term but must remain in detention, unable to afford bail, while trials for numerous other charges are pending. He is now being held on charges of involvement with a guerrilla organization, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Arrested in October 1997 for “inciting the public to violence” in an article about the armed conflict between the government and the OLF, Gemeda was sentenced to three years in jail under various provisions of the Penal Code and Press Proclamation 34/1992. In March 2000, he was given an additional one-year jail term for publishing “false information” in connection with the same article. Court officials on numerous occasions declined to accept bail from him on the grounds that in 1997 he had gone into hiding when he was supposed to appear in court. In fact, the journalist was being held in an Addis Ababa jail. He has since then been trying to obtain confirmation of his detention from the prison authorities.