Ethiopia: journalist Eskinder Nega among 746 to be released (Amnesty)

He was arrested after writing about the Arab Spring, jailed for 18 years and named a ‘prisoner of conscience’ by Amnesty

‘He should not have spent a single day behind bars’ – Sarah Jackson

Commenting on news from Ethiopia that journalist and Amnesty International prisoner of conscience Eskinder Nega will be among 746 prisoners released as part of a government pardon, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s East Africa Deputy Regional Director, said:

“It is wonderful news that this brave journalist will soon walk to freedom after seven years spent in jail simply for doing his job.

“He should not have spent a single day behind bars.

“But the world must not lose sight of the thousands of other people still languishing in jail on trumped-up and politically-motivated terrorism charges, including Bekele Gerba, Addisu Bulala and Woubshet Taye.

“All prisoners of conscience must be released immediately and unconditionally and compensated for the grave injustices done to them.”

Arrested after publishing Arab Spring article

At the time of his arrest, Eskinder Nega was editor of the ‘Satanaw’ newspaper.  He was arrested after publishing an article about the Arab Spring in which he asked whether a similar grassroots movement for democracy could take hold in Ethiopia.

Mr Nega was charged under the draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation with providing support for terrorists and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He has been held in Addis Ababa’s infamous Kality prison where 8,000 inmates are held in cramped, dilapidated and poorly-ventilated cells.

Also to be released with Nega is opposition politician Andualem Aragie, who was serving a life sentence, also on trumped-up terrorism charges.

Filed in: Current Affairs / News