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Further information on UA 35/94 (AFR 25/05/94, 2 February and follow-up AFR 25/09/94, 25 February) - Ethiopia: legal concern: journalists: Asrat Damtew, Antensay Tafesse, Nayk Kassaye, Tesfaye Berehanu, Yohannes Abebe, Iskinder Negga, Kinfe Assefa, Muluge

, رقم الوثيقة: AFR 25/010/1994

Twelve publishers and journalists from new independent magazines arrested in January/February 1994 have been provisionally released, some without charge while others were charged with offences against the press law. Six others remain in prison, including two provisionally released in early March and immediately rearrested. Six more journalists have been arrested and one, Mesfin Shifferaw, editor of Twaf magazine, has been missing since 11 February.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 25/10/94
Distr: UA/SC
14 April 1994
Appeals should be limited to 25 per section. Please involve journalists and
media organizations in this appeal.
Further information on UA 35/94 (AFR 25/05/94, 2 February 1994 and follow up
25 February 1994, AFR 25/09/94) - Legal Concern
ETHIOPIA:Journalists:
RELEASED:
Asrat Damtew, Antensay Tafesse, Nayk Kassaye, Tesfaye Berehanu, Yohannes Abebe,
Iskinder Negga, Kinfe Assefa, Mulugeta Jigo, Nesanet Tesfaye,
Mesele Haddis, Kibret Mekonnen, Befekadu Moroda
STILL DETAINED:
Meleskachew Amha, Berehane Mewa, Daniel Kifle, Daniel Tadesse, Tefera Asmare,
Girmay Gebre Tsadik
NEW ARRESTS:
Kefale Mammo (Chairman - Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association),
Kassa Keraga (Editor of a religious journal), Tenker Tedla, Belanyeh Alegu,
Feleke Alemu, Wolde-Ghiorgis Wolde-Michael
DISAPPEARANCE: Mesfin Shifferaw
Twelve publishers and journalists from new independent magazines, arrested
in January/February 1994, have been provisionally released. Some of them were
reportedly charged with offences against the Press Law (1992) and released
on bail, while others were provisionally released without having been formally
charged.
Six others still remain in prison:
Tefera Asmare (editor of Ethiopis magazine) was sentenced to two years'
imprisonment on 25 March on account of two articles he published. He is due
back in court soon to face a third charge. Daniel Kifle, Daniel Tadesse and
Girmay Gebre-Tsadik are still in police custody but it is not clear if they
have been formally charged. Meleskachew Amha and Berehane Mewa (who is also
a prominent businessman and chairman of the Ethiopian Chemical Association)
were provisionally released in early March. They were immediately re-arrested
apparently in connection with an article they published in Dewol and Alef
magazines containing a statement by a hitherto unknown group, the Ethiopian
Unity Brigade, which claimed responsibility for an attack on a US diplomat
in March.
Six more journalists have been recently arrested, bringing to 12 the total
number of journalists currently in detention for political offences:
Kefale Mammo, chairman of the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association
and editor-in-chief of Ruh magazine was arrested on 7 April and has not been
formally charged: the real reason for his arrest may be his campaigning for
the release of the journalists and for the freedom of the press in Ethiopia,
and for contacting international media organizations.
2
Tenker Tedla, Belanyeh Alegu and Feleke Alemu of Mekdela magazine were arrested
on 10 March and have not been formally charged. Wolde-Ghiorgis Wolde-Michael
of Muday magazine was arrested on 17 March and has not been formally charged.
Kassa Keraga of Ye Igziabeher Mengist ("Kingdom of God") religious magazine
was arrested in February, fined for insulting Islam, and is serving a two-year
prison sentence on account of being unable to pay the fine. Six independent
magazines, including Ruh and Muday, have been forced to close.
There is no new information about another journalist, Mesfin Shifferaw, editor
of Twaf magazine, who has been missing since 11 February 1994. He is a diabetic
and requires regular medication. The authorities have said that he was not
arrested. Fears continue to be expressed that he may be detained in secret,
although Amnesty International has not been given any evidence to confirm this
and is continuing its investigations.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in English or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the arrest of Kefale Mammo, chairman of the Ethiopian
Free Press Journalists Association, who had criticised repression of
journalists in Ethiopia and had earlier been questioned about articles he had
published criticising the government;
- expressing concern about continuing arrests and detentions of journalists,
including the sentencing of Tefera Asmare and Kassa Keraga to prison terms,
on account of articles they published which did not advocate violence;
- requesting a full investigation by the authorities into the disappearance
of Mesfin Shifferaw;
- appealing for the immediate release of these journalists as prisoners of
conscience and withdrawal of all charges relating to their professional
journalism.
APPEALS TO:
1) His Excellency President Meles Zenawi
Office of the President
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telegrams: President Meles, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telexes: 21050 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Faxes: + 251 1 514300 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Salutation: Your Excellency
2) Mr Meheteme Solomon
Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice
P O Box 1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telegrams: Minister of Justice, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telexes: 21050 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Faxes: + 251 1 514300 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Salutation: Dear Minister
3) Mr Kinfe Gebre-Medhin
Vice-Minister of Internal Affairs (head of security)
Ministry of Internal Affairs, P O Box 5721
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telegrams: via Minister of Internal Affairs, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telexes: 21050 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Faxes: + 251 1 514300 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Salutation: Dear Vice-Minister
3
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Dr Negasso Gidada, Minister of Information, Ministry of Information
P O Box 1364, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Faxes: + 251 1 514300
Mr Hassan Shiffa, Coordinator of Police and Prison Administration
Ministry of Internal Affairs, P O Box 5721, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Mr Kemal Bedri
President of the Supreme Court, Ministry of Justice
P O Box 1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association (EFJA)
P O Box 4067, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
and to diplomatic representatives of Ethiopia accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 26 May 1994.

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