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Detainees not seen by friends, family members so far  

Mahlet Fasil

The police have requested a court in Addis Abeba for a group of six bloggers writing for Zone9 and three journalists detained by security forces on Friday April 25th and Saturday April 26th to remain in custody until further investigations were conducted.  

Friends of the detainees were told this morning at the Ma’ekelawi, the central investigation office where the detainees were are kept since Friday a remand request were already filed against the detainees on Sunday April 27th. According to journalist Lily Yekoye, who is at the Arada First Instance Court First Bench where the remand requests were filed, the police accused the detainees of accepting money and working with foreign organizations and rights activists and using social media to destabilize the country and that it request the court for more days to establish evidence supporting its claim.

Tesfalem Waldyes

Journalist Tesfalem Waldyes

Accordingly, prominent journalist Tesfalem Wadyes, who was freelancing for the weekly English Fortune and the monthly Addis Standard, journalist Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, senior editor at an influential Amharic weekly magazine Addis Guday, and Zelalem Kibret, a lecturer at Ambo University were all listed in one file and would appear in court on May 7th; Atnaf Berhane, IT professional, Edom Kassaye, who previously worked at state daily Addis Zemen Newspaper and an active member of the Ethiopian Environmental Journalists Association (EEJA) and a close associate of Zone9 bloggers, and Natnail Feleke from the Construction and Business Bank, were all listed in one file and would appear in court on May 8th; and Mahlet Fantahun, Data expert, Befekadu Hailu from St. Mary’s University College, and Abel Wabella, from Ethiopian Airlines were all listed in one file and would appear in court the same day on May 8th.  

Edom Kassaye

Journalist Edom Kassaye

Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Luanda, Angola, on April 29-May 5 to encourage democratic development, promote respect for human rights, advance peace and security, engage with civil society and young African leaders who will shape the continent’s future, and promote trade, investment and development partnerships in Africa.

Authorities in Ethiopia have in the last 24 hours detained several bloggers and a freelance journalist , social media sources have said.

Detainees include a group of young bloggers who created the blog Zone9, a namesake for different numbered zones in Ethiopia’s notorious jail Kality, where several other journalists are serving jail sentences.

Seasoned journalist Tesfalem Waldyes is also among the detainees. After Addis Neger, the newspaper Tsefalem was writing for, was shut and its editors exiled, Tesfalem went to Uganda for a journalism fellowship where he continued to freelance for a leading Ethiopian local newspaper, Fortune. Tesfalem came to Ethiopia two years ago and continued freelancing for different newspapers and magazines  including Addis Standard. His article on the woes of the textile industry in Ethiopia will be published in the May edition of Addis Standard.