By Natnael Fite @NatieFit
Addis Abeba – Sabontu Ahmed, a journalist at Finfinnee Integrated Broadcasting (FIB) has become the latest journalist to have been detained by security forces. Earlier today FIB announced that Sabontu was taken by two security forces on her way home from work on Thursday 26 May and was taken to the Addis Abeba Police Station located in the Lebu area, commonly referred to as Musika Sefer.
Lami Taye, FIB Executive Director, confirmed the news to Addis Standard. “We went to visit her today at the station, and we found out that she was detained due to ‘orders from other bodies’. ‘’
“Sabontu worked in the entertainment department of FIB; yesterday as she was going home from work, two police officers from Addis Abeba Police Commission detained her and took her to the police station near Lebu area, commonly referred to as Muzika Sefer, Lemi said regarding the specifics of her detention. “We were told that [she was taken by] members of intelligence,” he further said.
“We went to visit her today at the station, and we found out that she was detained due to ‘orders from other bodies’”Lami Taye
However, Lami and the rest of the team do not more about the specifics of the two officers who detained Sabontu. “When we went to Addis Abeba Police and inquired why she was detained, who [was responsible] and why she hasn’t been taken to court, we were told, ‘we have no issue with her, we were told to detain her’,” Lami said,adding “we were told they would take her, so we are waiting. ‘’ However he said officers told them “their suspicions that it might be the Oromia Police.’’
The Oromia Journalists Association (OJA) issued a statement this morning asking for her immediate release and described that she was detained for reasons unknown to the association and without a court warrant.
“We believe the government has a responsibility to apply effort so that media professionals can work without any fear since such acts of arresting media innocent professionals without any court warrants during the night on the road is an impediment to the installation of the democratic process our country has embarked on and furthermore such acts are incompatible with global standards and those of journalism itself,” OJA said.
Earlier today, Daniel Bekele (PhD), Commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said that “no claim about the alleged offense committed through media justifies violation of the newly adopted media law which clearly prohibits pre-trial detention of persons charged with committing an offense through the media.” EHRC said the arrest in Addis Abeba on 26 May 26 of journalist Temesgen Desalegn (Managing Editor, Feteh Magazine) and Yayesew Shimelis (Ethio Forum Media) “brings the total of detained journalists and media personnel to 16.” AS