The AP calls for release of freelance journalist detained for 100 days in Ethiopia

(Chris Hondros/Newsmakers via Getty)

The Associated Press this week again urged Ethiopian authorities to release freelance journalist Amir Aman Kiyaro, who has spent more than 100 days in detention in the country without being charged.

Kiyaro, a video journalist accredited to the AP, was detained by authorities on Nov. 28 in Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa under the country’s war-related state of emergency powers.

State media reported that Kiyaro was arrested and accused of “serving the purposes” of a terrorist group by interviewing its leaders, the AP reported, citing federal authorities.

Another journalist, Thomas Engida, was also arrested by Ethiopian authorities and is facing similar accusations.

Federal police inspector Tesfaye Olani said that the journalists violated the country’s state of emergency law and anti-terrorism law, which could land them seven- to 15-year prison sentences if convicted, according to the AP.

But authorities lifted the country’s state of emergency last month, citing changing conditions in the ongoing conflict between Ethiopian forces and Northern Tigray rebels, authorities lifted the country’s state of emergency last month

“Kiyaro has not been charged with any crime and is being held unjustly,” the AP’s executive editor, Julie Pace, said in a statement on Thursday.

“As we have said, Kiyaro is an independent journalist who has done important work in Ethiopia on all sides of the conflict. It is clear he is being targeted for his journalism,” Pace added. 

More than a dozen Ethiopian journalists this week wrote an open letter condemning the persecution of Kiyaro and other journalists, writing that “the hostile environment so many of our colleagues in Ethiopia currently find themselves in has them intimidated, languishing behind bars, living in fear of the very real risk of arrest, and contemplating either quitting their jobs or fleeing the country,” the wire service reported.

Kiyaro’s mother, Foziya Tewoldebirhan, said in a statement that her son hasn’t committed any crimes, the AP reported. 

“They arrested my son for doing his job, he hasn’t committed any crimes,” Tewoldebirhan said. 

In a statement, Kiyaro’s wife, Sisay Tadele, said the journalist and his family have gone “through tremendous physical, emotional and psychological pain.” 

“And as a pregnant woman, I myself am put through a horrible situation. I say and also believe my husband shouldn’t have been in jail in the first place, let alone spend more than 100 days away from his family, and ask the Ethiopian prime minister and government for the immediate release of my husband,” Tadele said.

Tags Amir Aman Kiyaro ethiopia conflict The Associated Press
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