Ethiopia: release prominent blogger Seyoum Teshome

Ethiopia: release prominent blogger Seyoum Teshome

PEN Center USA joins with the United Nations Human Rights office to urge Ethiopia to release Seyoum Teshome and drop all charges against him. Teshome, the Ethiopian university lecturer and prominent blogger who criticized the government's handling of the ongoing protests in Oromia and Amhara, was arrested on October 1, 2016.

The arrest came a day before a stampede broke out amid protests in Oromia, leading to the deaths of at least 100 people. The incident has fueled more protests against the marginalization of Ethiopia's Oromo ethnic group. According to the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia, about 600 protesters have been killed since November 2015.

Mr. Teshome has been frequently quoted in international media, including a recent New York Times article on Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa's symbolic protest at the Rio Olympics.

“This arrest of a prominent writer and commentator is deeply disturbing as it comes against a backdrop of government moves to stifle protests and criticism,” said Robert Mahoney, deputy director of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. “Seyoum Teshome should be released without delay and without condition.”

In addition to Teshome's arrest, numerous Ethiopian writers have been arrested, prosecuted, or forced into exile, including Eskinder Nega, who is serving an 18-year prison sentence, Temesgen Desalegn, Wubshet Taye, and Natnael Feleke, who was arrested last week. There have also been recent reports of mass arrests in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

PEN Center USA joins the United Nations Human Rights office in urging the Ethiopian government to release Seyoum Teshome and all others detained for exercising their right to free expression.


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