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Muhyadin Abdullahi, a journalist in Harari region, remains imprisoned despite court-ordered release

Muhyadin Abdullahi, a journalist working at state-owned Harari Mass Media Agency (Photo: Social Media)

Addis Abeba – Despite the Harari Supreme Court ordering the release of Muhyadin Abdullahi, a journalist employed by the state-owned Harari Mass Media Agency, on 17 June, 2024, he remains in prison, according to his wife, who spoke to Addis Standard.

His wife, Helan Jamal, disclosed that she paid the bail amount of 10,000 birr yesterday, yet Muhyadin remained in prison until this morning.

Addis Standard reviewed the court order from the Harari Supreme Court, which grants bail to Muhyadin in the amount of 10,000 birr and is directed to the Harari Regional State Police Commission.

His wife, Helan, stated that Muhyadin, editor of the Afaan Oromoo program at the Harari Mass Media Agency, was imprisoned at 2 p.m. on Saturday, 15 June, 2024.

“The accusation stemmed from his social media commentary about the Harari State President’s handling of the water supply issue, leading to his detention by the authorities,” she conveyed.

Harari regional state President Ordin Bedri recently announced the implementation of short-, medium-, and long-term plans to address the city’s chronic water shortage. He emphasized the various actions and efforts undertaken by the government to resolve the water issue that has persisted for over two decades.

“The accusation Muhyadin is facing stems from his Facebook post criticizing the Harari region president’s announcement regarding measures to solve the water deficit in the region,” Helen stated.

She also disclosed that Muhyadin is currently detained at the Harari Police Commission detention center. “However, the police station refused to comply, stating that they had not received the court order.”

However, she noted, “The prison guard informed me that the head of the regional ruling party instructed them not to release Muhyadin.”

In yesterday’s court session, the prosecutor appealed the decision to release the journalist, but the court rejected the appeal and upheld the decision to release him, according to Helen. “Shortly after, he packed his belongings and left the prison. However, the attorney intervened, blocked his way, and returned him to prison.”

In May 2022, Muhayadin was apprehended at his office in connection with a social media post. After being held in police custody for nine days, he was subsequently released.

In an interview with Addis Standard, Muhayadin revealed that he had been receiving threats due to his “truthful reporting.”

Muhyadin Abdullahi is not the only journalist detained in recent months due to social media posts criticizing government officials.

Muhiyadin Mohamed Abdullahi, a journalist operating within the Somali region, was apprehended on 13 February, 2024, by regional security personnel from his residence in Jigjiga, the capital city of the Somali Regional State, over his social media posts regarding traffic disruptions caused by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s visit.

On 02 May, 2024, Muhiyadin Mohamed was sentenced to two years in prison by the Fafen Zone High Court in Jigjiga.

A recent report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) identified Ethiopia as the third-worst country in Africa for journalist incarceration in 2023.

The number of imprisoned Ethiopian journalists had risen to eight by the end of last year, highlighting the significant challenges facing the nation’s media landscape. AS

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