Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2018, 14:34 GMT

Annual Prison Census 2008: Ethiopia

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 4 December 2008
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2008: Ethiopia, 4 December 2008, available at: [accessed 20 February 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2008


Saleh Idris Gama, Eri-TV
Tesfalidet Kidane Tesfazghi, Eri-TV
IMPRISONED: December 2006

Ethiopian authorities have refused to provide any information about the whereabouts, legal status, or health of Gama and Tesfazghi, Eritrean state television journalists who were arrested by Kenyan border authorities in late 2006 following the Ethiopian military invasion of southern Somalia.

Tesfazghi, a producer, and Gama, a cameraman, were held for three weeks by Kenyan authorities and then handed over to the Ethiopian-backed Somali transitional government in January 2007, according to the Eritrean Foreign Ministry. In April 2007, the Ethiopian government acknowledged that it had detained 41 people who were "captured" in Somalia on suspicion of "terrorism," according to news reports. The government said some detainees would be tried "before the competent military court" but did not identify them by name.

Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Wahid Belay declined to comment on the case. Bereket Simon, a senior adviser to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, told CPJ in August that court proceedings were pending, but he declined to provide details.

The detentions were disclosed in April 2007 through official statements and an anti-Eritrean propaganda videotape posted on the pro-government Web site Waltainfo. The video suggested the journalists were involved in military activities in Somalia. While Eritrean journalists are often conscripted into military service, the video did not present any evidence linking the journalists to military activity.

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