News: French journalist Antoine Galindo released after a week of imprisonment, left Ethiopia

Addis Abeba – French journalist Antoine Galindo who was arrested in Addis Abeba on 22 February has been released from prison on Thursday ahead of his scheduled appearance before the court for the second time on Friday.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) welcomed the news of his release, adding that Galindo subsequently left the country to return to France. Further details about his release were not immediately available, CPJ said.

“We thank all the people and organizations who worked towards Galindo’s release,” the publisher of Africa Intelligence, Quentin Botbol, told CPJ via messaging app.

Galindo, a journalist working for Africa Intelligence was detained by security forces in Addis Abeba while conducting an interview with Bate Urgessa, a political officer of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a legally registered opposition party.

He was presented before the Addis Abeba City Administration Bole Division Court on Saturday, accused of “conspiring with two armed groups, the OLA-Shene and the Fano militia, to incite unrest in the capital,” as reported by CPJ.

The Federal Communication Service said on Wednesday that the journalist was arrested while reporting on domestic affairs without proper accreditation. Selamawit Kassa, state minister for the service, during a media briefing stated that the journalist was in Ethiopia after receiving accreditation to cover the 37th AU Summit, but was found “gathering information about Ethiopia’s internal political issues.” 

“It is great news that Antoine Galindo has been released, as his unjust detention was a stark reminder of the dangers of practicing journalism in today’s Ethiopia,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Muthoki Mumo.

The CPJ called on Ethiopian authorities to immediately release all journalists—eight others at least—who have suffered months of imprisonment under very difficult conditions, and provide guarantees that international journalists will be allowed the access they need to report and will not face retaliation for doing their jobs. AS

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