Archive | 7:46 pm

Ethiopia frees prominent journalist, drops all charges

28 Aug

Temesghen Desalegn (Awramba Times)

New York, August 28, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today’s decision by the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice to release the editor of a leading independent weekly from jail and drop all criminal charges against him. CPJ also calls for the release of eight other journalists now imprisoned in Ethiopia for their work.

Temesghen Desalegn, editor of Feteh, was released from Kality Prison in Addis Ababa, the capital, at around 3 p.m. today, according to Feteh Deputy Editor Hailemeskel Beshewamyelhu. The journalist was jailed on Friday in connection with his articles that appeared in seven editions of Feteh and criticized the policies of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, according to local journalists.

Charges against Mastewal Publishing and Advertising PLC, the company that publishes Feteh, were also dropped, according to news reports. The company had been charged with inciting the public to violence by publishing Feteh, according to a charge sheet reviewed by CPJ. Temesghen faced criminal charges including defaming the state and inciting people to overthrow the government, the sheet said.

Desalegn Teressa, spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, told Bloomberg News, “After further investigation, the prosecutors have decided to drop the charges.” But the government did not give an explanation as to why the charges against Temesghen and Mastewal Publishing had been dropped.

Feteh has not been published since July 20, when the government ordered Barhanena Selam, the state-run printing company, not to print the paper. The ministry blocked the distribution of a Feteh edition with a front-page story about the conflicting reports surrounding the illness of Meles, according to news reports. It was not immediately clear whether Feteh would be able to resume publishing.

“We’re relieved Temesghen Desalegn has been freed and will not face criminal prosecution for his journalism,” CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita said. “We call on Ethiopian authorities to demonstrate a commitment to freedom of expression by releasing the eight other journalists currently imprisoned for their work and by ending the government’s practice of prosecuting journalists who voice dissenting views.”

Among the eight journalists in prison is independent blogger Eskinder Nega, who has been sentenced to 18 years in prison on charges of participating in a terrorist organization and inciting anti-government protests, according to CPJ research.

  • For more data and analysis on Ethiopia, visit CPJ’s Ethiopia page here.

from Committee to Protect Journalists

Syria – Send a postcard to help Syrian poets

28 Aug

28 August 2012

PEN International's postcard for Syrian poet Tal Al-Mallouhi, jailed since September 2009.

PEN International’s postcard for Syrian poet Tal Al-Mallouhi, jailed since September 2009.

PEN International

(WiPC PEN International/IFEX) – 23 August 2012 – PEN International continues to appeal to the Syrian authorities to stop the use of excessive force in the ongoing crackdown on anti-government protests. The crisis has now deepened and the numbers of victims on both sides of the conflict continue to escalate. PEN has designed a series of three postcards featuring portraits and the work of imprisoned and killed Syrian poets which you can send to Syrian representatives in your country. They can also be used in publicity events, as postcards or posters, to raise awareness and appealing for the end of the Syrian conflict.

More than 20,000 civilians have been killed, several thousands have been wounded and about two million have been displaced as a consequence of the conflict. PEN has been working on highlighting the cases of killed and imprisoned writers, poets, and journalists, by statements and through our RAN network.

With the purpose of honouring Syrian colleagues through their writings, PEN International has produced three postcards with brief extracts and a short background of the cases of:
•Blogger and poet Dia’a Al-Abdulla, arrested from his home in February 2012, who remains incommunicado
•Poet and blogger Tal Al-Mallouhi, jailed since September 2009, sentenced to five years in prison
•Poet and singer Ibrahim Qashoush, kidnapped and killed in July 2011

What to do:

PEN International urges you to:

Print: Please feel free to download the templates of the postcards from this link and to print them;

Send: Send the postcards to the Syrian authorities via your nearest diplomatic representative of Syria;

Campaign: Use these materials in any other way you can, whether by hosting events in solidarity with these writers and their families, approaching the media to raise your concerns about the Syrian crisis, reading sessions at literary events, etc.

Click and read:

Click here to find a link to protesters using Qashoush’s songs in YouTube
A PEN statement on the ongoing conflict in Syria
The most recent alert issued by the WiPC on Syria
A statement by Syrian writer Khaled Khalifa

For further information please contact Cathy McCann at PEN International Writers in Prison Committee, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, email: cathy.mccann (@)

via IFEX

In Senegal, police question radio journalist

28 Aug

Police in Dakar, the capital, summoned Alassane Samba Diop, director of Radio Futurs Médias (RFM), for four hours of questioning on August 25, 2012, over an interview he broadcast the night before with the leader of a hardline Islamist group, according to news reports.

The officers demanded to know how he had made contact with Oumar Hamaha, the second-in-command of Ansardine, an Islamist militant group controlling parts of northern Mali, for the interview, according to news reports. In the interview, Hamaha said Ansardine would attack the capitals of all of the member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) if military troops were sent to the north of Mali, news reports said.

Diop said that police told him that the interior minister had ordered them to call him in for questioning. When Diop was released at 2 p.m., police told him he would be called in again if necessary, news reports said.

The journalist told police he wanted the interview with Hamaha to get first-hand information of events in the north of Mali and not depend on foreign media; to inform the Senegalese public on the current situation affecting both neighboring countries; and to call on Senegalese authorities to increase security.

from Committee to Protect Journalists

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