Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2017, 12:01 GMT

Annual Prison Census 2010 - Ethiopia

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 8 December 2010
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2010 - Ethiopia, 8 December 2010, available at: [accessed 23 November 2017]
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, 2010

Ethiopia: 4

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

Ethiopian authorities have refused to provide 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 after 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 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.

In a video aired on state television, the Ethiopian government suggested the journalists were involved in military activities in Somalia. Though Eritrean journalists were often conscripted into military service, the video did not present any evidence linking the journalists to military activity. A Foreign Ministry statement said some detainees would be tried "before the competent military court" but did not identify them by name.

In August 2010, government spokesman Shemelis Kemal would not disclose the journalists' whereabouts, their health, or legal status. "The two people are not even journalists," he said.

Haileyesus Worku, Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency
Abdulsemed Mohammed, Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency
Imprisoned: April 22, 2010

The Ethiopian Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission ordered the arrests of editor Worku and producer Mohammed of the government-controlled national public broadcaster on charges of smuggling station material to an unidentified third party, local journalists told CPJ.

A week after their arrests, Ethiopian government spokesman Bereket Simon told CPJ the journalists had been "caught red-handed" but would not provide any details. Prosecutors amended charges to include corruption and copyright violations while the journalists were in pretrial detention in Kality Prison in late year.

Local journalists said Worku was accused of trying to copy footage of the government's brutal repression of the May 2005 post-election protests, and that Mohammed was lending technical assistance.

A few months before his arrest, Mohammed, a 14-year veteran of the station, was demoted from senior editor to an entertainment producer's job as part of civil service changes that put government loyalists in ranking positions, according to local journalists.

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