ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Human rights groups are asking Ethiopia’s government to immediately disclose the whereabouts of a popular local journalist who has been behind bars since October 2014.
The Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia and Defenders on Wednesday called it “unacceptable” that the government was unwilling or unable to provide Temesgen Desalegn’s relatives with information after two years of detention.
The groups say Temesgen was jailed on “spurious charges.” The journalist is serving a three-year sentence on charges of defamation, incitement and false publication.
The public relations head of the Ethiopian Federal Prison Administration, Gizachew Mengiste, tells The Associated Press he has no information about Temesgen’s whereabouts.
Ethiopia declared a state of emergency in October amid massive anti-government protests, leading to the arrest of at least two journalists.
The Ethiopia government has been ranked 3rd in Africa by jailing and harassing journalists. According to the 2016 CPJ’s report, 16 journalist have been jailed by the regime for exercising the rights of free speech and press. The Ethiopian regime has been using the anti-terrorism law to stifle freedom of speech, journalists and political oppositions. The government is intensifying its arrest and harassment of journalists during the on going state of emergency that that came after wave of protest and public disobedience erupted across the country. Temesghen Desalengne had been held at the remote Ziway Prison, about 83 miles south-east of the capital.