Addis Abeba – Meskerem Abera, founder and owner of “Ethio Nikat“, a YouTube-based media, who was arrested for the third time on Sunday by members of the federal police and security officers wearing civilian clothes in the capital Addis Abeba, has been brought to court on Tuesday being accused of giving military and shooting exercises to informal groups.
Meskerem was arrested on Sunday around 1:20 pm from her residence after her house was searched by the security forces who took three papers and her mobile phone during the search, her husband Fitsum Gebremichael told Addis Standard.
She appeared before the Federal First Instance Court Arada division on Tuesday, and the court granted the police 13 days to remand and investigate her on allegations of committing crimes of inciting violence and riot.
According to Fitsum, the studio where she records programs for her youtube based Ethio Nikat media has also been searched after her arrest but nothing was found there that could incriminate her.
On 14 December, Meskerem was arrested by federal police and brought to court a day after, where she was accused of committing multiple offenses that include using social media and her own media “Ethio Nikat”, to undermine the government, divide nations against one another, cause mistrust in the National Defense Forces, use the controversial issue of Oromia’s anthem and flag in Addis Abeba schools to incite violence and instigating conflicts in the Gurage Zone. She was released on 50,000 birr bail after weeks of imprisonment.
Prior to that, on 21 May, she was detained by security forces at Addis Abeba Bole International Airport after touching down from a flight that took off in Bahir Dar. But, after several appearances, judges at the Federal First Instance Court, Arada Division appointment hearing bench granted her a bail for 30, 000 birr, resulting in her release from police custody after 23 days of detention.
Meskerem’s latest arrest has brought the number of journalists and media personalities arrested last week alone to at least four. Genet Asmamaw, a journalist at a YouTube based Yaneta Media was beaten and harassed by security forces when she was arrested on 06 April according to an audio recorded during her arrest that is being widely shared on social media.
Another two journalists, Abay Zewudu of Amhara Media Center and Aragaw Sisay of Roha News were also arrested last week in Addis Abeba.
Addis Standard previously reported the arrest on 26 March of journalist Getnat Ashagre, editor-in-chief of Amhara Voice Media from his residence in Addis Abeba. AS