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REFERENCE : EFJA - UPDAT PF 14 th November 1996

NEW ARRESTS : Two editors of the Amharic WEEKLY and MONTHLY TOBIYA were locked up during the last five days by the Ethiopian security police for reasons not disclosed so far. TAYE BELATCHEW, the editor-in-chief of the publications was taken for detention from his office, Friday 22nd November, 1996, in the afternoon. The deputy Editor-in-chief, ANNTENEH MERID was arrested on 25th of November, 1996. Two senior editors of TOBIYA are being held in custody at the MA'EKELAWI, the Centrial Criminal Investigation Office, in Addis Abeba. For TAYE BELATCHEW, this was the third arrest and detention within a period of less than two years. On each occasion he was held at police prisons for over a month, and was released on bail totalling 20,000 Birr.

His professional colleague ANTENNEH MERID is also under arrest for second time in a year. He has already been charged for an alleged criminal offence, after over a month detention without trial and his case is still pending at the Federal High Court. The charge was regarding an article published in the Monthly TOBIYA under the title "ORGANIZED POPULAR NON-VIOLENT RESISTANCE AGAINST ORGANISAED RULE BY TERROR! Taye Belatchew has never been formally charged. The two editors are in their later thrties, married and with children! Their lengthy detention without trial, coupled with the absence of the manager of the publishing firm, Mullugeta Lule, currently on a private visit to USA, is feared here, might lead to a closure of the pulications. It has beeen a well established practice of the state bureaucracy here to kill WEEKLIES and MONTHLIES of the Independent Press through various process of detention, harassment and intimidation. We are, therefore, appealling to all friends of the FREE PRESS, here at home and abroad, to take immediate action to obtain the unconditional release of all the journalists under detention without trial, including TAYE BELATCHEW and ANTENNEH MERID and to save the popular Weekly and Monthly from the imminent danger of collapsing under the current repression.

RECENT RELEASE : ABINET TAMIRAT, EIC of DAGMAWI, was released on 13th November 1996, after remaining in detention for 54 weeks without court conviction. GIRMAYENEH MAMMO, ex-EIC of TOMAR, was released on 7th November 1996. He was sentenced for a year but remained in prison for 13 months. He was arrested on 20th October 1995.

RECENT FINES : ex-EIC and DEPUTY EIC of the Amharic Weekly URGI, TESFAYE DERESSA and GARUMA BEKELE, were fined each 4,000 Birr for publishing allegedly criminal news stories and articles concerning mainly armed guerilla activities of the Oromo Liberation Front, OLF in the Oromiya region.


Journalists in prison, total ----------13

Journalists in prison without trial ----------11

Journalists fined -----------2

Journalists still missing -----------1

Journalsists still in hiding -----------4

Journalists affected, total ----------17

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