Ethiopia: 11 politicians, journalists released once again

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Eleven politicians, journalists and bloggers in Ethiopia have been released after being arrested last month for violating the country’s state of emergency, one of their lawyers has said.

Amha Mekonnen, who represents most of the journalists in the group, told The Associated Press that no charges have been filed. Most of the 11 are former political prisoners, released earlier this year, but were arrested once again at a social gathering held outside the capital, Addis Ababa.

Political prisoners rereleased

The group of opposition politicians, journalists and bloggers were arrested earlier this month at a social gathering with family and friends to celebrate their recent release. However, police arrested 11 of these attendees on the grounds of displaying an outlawed flag commonly used by opposition groups and anti-government protesters.

Under Ethiopia’s ongoing state of emergency, opposition gatherings and the display of anti-government signs are both prohibited.

The government declared another state of emergency after former prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his resignation in February, following months of renewed unrest. The ruling party said the state of emergency was designed to maintain peace while it elected a new prime minister: Abiy Ahmed, who was sworn in on Monday to become Ethiopia’s first Oromo prime minister.

However, the state of emergency will be imposed for a total of six months, meaning social gatherings like the one journalists Eskinder Nega and Temesgen Desalegn, politician Andualem Aragie and prominent blogger Befekadu Hailu were arrested at will continue to be prohibited.

Featured image: Twitter

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.