CPJ Urges Ethiopia to Release Ethiopis’s Reporter

ADDIS ABEBA – Authorities in Ethiopia urged to unconditionally release journalist Mesganaw Getachew, who was arrested on August 9, 2019.

He was arrested after recording an interview outside a court in Addis Ababa, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Mesganaw, who reports for the privately-owned Ethiopis weekly, was arrested shortly after he interviewed a lawyer, Henok Aklilu, outside the Arada First Instance court in Addis Ababa.

He is now facing allegations of contravening Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, Henok and Mesganaw’s editor, Eskinder Nega, told CPJ.

Henok told CPJ that he had just attended a hearing in another case in which a group of people, including two media workers, are also facing anti-terror charges when Mesganaw and others approached him for updates on the case.

The journalist recorded the lawyer via a camera installed in his eyeglasses, according to Eskinder and Henok. Mesganaw was afraid of harassment if he filmed openly, according to his Editor.

Eskinder told CPJ that police at the scene also arrested another person, Adam Wejera, a member of the Balderas Council, a political movement headed by Eskinder that claims to advocate for the rights of Addis Ababa residents.

Eskinder said Adam was also filming. Henok said he did not witness this second arrest.

The federal police told CPJ that Mesganaw was arrested for illegally filming within the court compound, while the federal attorney general’s office said Mesganaw and Adam are suspected of being part of an attempted coup in the Amhara regional state.

Both the police and the attorney general’s office said the arrests had nothing to do with journalism.