Addis Abeba – The Federal prosecutor has filed multiple charges against journalists Gobeze Sisay, Meaza Mohammed as well as author and activist Asaye Deribe, who has been detained since mid-September the Ministry of Justice has announced.
The details of the charges, which were filed at the federal court on Friday 30 September, include provisions of allegedly “spreading false rumor” and disclosing the army’s battlefield locations “to the enemy and the public.”
Accordingly, journalist Gobeze Sisay, who was re-detained by the federal police on 08 September, and who is the 1st defendant, is facing accusations of appearing on a Twitter Space hosted by an account called “Amhara Perspective” and making a speech that the public was against the national defense forces.
He is accused of saying that the youth do not want to be on the side of the government and stating that the public desires to see the T.P.L.F back in the capital Addis Ababa.
The charge accuses Gobeze of sending out information that undermines the public’s confidence on the defense capacity of the government and working to create ideas that harm the good relationship between the people and the army.
It also accuses him of posting on his personal Facebook account saying: “in the current war, the leaders of Fano, Mere Wadajo and Demle Aragawu, who are fighting against the TPLF, have survived after being shot from behind repeatedly. In this situation, there are youths who question “how can I trust the government and go to war?”
Second defendant Asaye Deribe and third defendant Meaza Mohammed are accused of spreading false rumors to the public. The Ministry says, in an interview on August 25 given to Roha Media, Meaza Mohammed through a media she manages say “It is possible to end the war. The problem is not that we have an enemy that is not ready to be defeated, but that we have a government that is not interested”.
Meaza Mohammed, owner and managing director of a YouTube based media channel “Roha Media” was arrested on September 08, hours after security forces re-detained journalist Gobeze Sisay of “The Voice of Amhara”, another YouTube based media.
Meaza is being detained for the third time while Gobeze’s detention is for the second time in as many months.
Gobeze’s younger brother Kedir Sisay told Addis Standard that Gobeze was arrested by federal uniformed and plainclothes security forces at 8 am local time on October 08 and said he did not know where they were taking him to.
Gobeze was released on May 9th of this year around 9 PM local time after he was reported missing in action for 9 days following his arrest on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
Journalist Gobeze has recently traveled to the Amhara region after the ongoing militarized hostilities between the federal army along with Amhara region security forces and the Tigrayan forces resumed on 24 August.
He has given interviews and wrote on his Facebook page criticizing the ruling Prosperity Party. On his personal Facebook page, Gobeze wrote that “The Amhara people, especially those who share administrative borders with the Tigray region, are tired of the war’s relapsing and causing death and displacement.” He claimed that there are farmers who are saying they don’t want the war, nor to be asked to take part in the fighting.
This is the third time for Meaza to be detained by security forces. She was first arrested while on her way to work by plain clothed security forces more in the first week of December 2021r. Meaza, who previously worked at Abay media, was released on 18 January this year after having been detained for more than a month without appearing in court of law, leading to her defense team to file habeas corpus at the Federal First Instance court 2nd bench. She was detained while on her way to work by plain clothed security forces in the first week of December last year.
Meaza on the other hand was rearrested for the second time on May 28 of this year on the suspicion of “enticing violence and riot” but she was released on a 10,000 birr bail after 20 days of detention and no charges.
Their trial is set to continue after their charge is read out to them in court on Monday. AS