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Ethiopia: Two journalists freed on bail, two others in separate case remain in detention

Haileyesus Worku, the editor of the state-owned Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency (ERTA), and one of his reporters, Abdulsemed Mohammed, were finally released on bail of 5,000 birr (205 euros) on July 22 after being held for 15 months on charges of illegally selling state-owned news content for personal gain, according to Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF).

The court has scheduled a hearing for 12 November to hear defence arguments. The two journalists are meanwhile banned from leaving the country.

They were arrested on April 26, 2010 on charges of illegally obtaining TV news content and passing it to a foreign TV company for personal profit, causing considerable losses for ERTA and violating copyright. They could be fined and jailed if convicted. More information

RSF has also learnt that Woubeshet Taye, the deputy editor of the Amharic-language weekly Awramba Times, who was arrested on June 19, and Reyot Alemu, a woman reporter for the Amharic-language weekly Fitih, who was arrested on June 21, appeared last week before judges, who ordered that they remain in detention.

Alemu was brought before a federal court in the utmost secrecy on July 20 without her family or her colleagues being notified of the hearing. Taye was also brought before a federal court. In both cases, a 28-day extension of their detention was ordered to allow for further police investigation.

Both are accused of complicity with Ginbot 7, a US-based opposition group which parliament recently declared to be a “terrorist” organization. They are due to appear in court next on August 19. RSF has been told that they have not been allowed visits by family members or their lawyers.

Date posted: July 26, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 8