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News: Rights Commission urges “immediate disclosure” of missing journalists; reiterates SoE close monitoring for rights principles

From top left: Eyasted Tesfaye, Tamerat Negara, Meaza Mohammed, & Kinrom Worku. Picture: Screenshot/AS

Addis Abeba, December 16/2021 – The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) urged “for the immediate disclosure” of the whereabouts of Kibrom Worku and Tamerat Negera, two journalists who are missing after they were taken to police custody. EHRC also reiterated that “the relevant authorities should closely monitor that the state of emergency proclamation is implemented in a manner that strictly adheres to human rights principles.”

“Visitation rights should be respected and guaranteed even under a state of emergency. ”

EHRC

Kibrom Worku, the editor and head of the news department of Ahadu Radio and TV remained in detention after court ordered his release on November 12, 2021. The police told a court in Addis Abeba that Kibrom was released on November 18 following a court order. But Kibrom parents said they haven’t seen or heard from him.

Similarly, the whereabouts of Tamerat Negera, founder and editor-in-chief of Terara Network remained unknown since his arrest on December 10. Tamrat’s family said they were unable to find him at Addis Abeba Police Commission’s Sostegna Police Station after his arrest on Friday. His wife Selam Belay told Addis Standard that their repeated attempts to locate him since his arrest were futile.  Terara Network on its part said that Tamrat’s family who went to Sostegna police station on Friday was told that his case was transferred to Oromia police commission. But then the family went to the Oromia police commission they were told that Tamrat was not brought there, the statement said.

The EHRC said their whereabouts should be immediately disclosed “to their families and legal counsel and to guarantee their visitation rights. ”

The Commission further said that it was monitoring the situation of media personnel Kibrom Worku, Tamrat Negera, Meaza Mohammed and Eyasped Tesfaye who are currently in detention.

“While the Commission is in discussion with relevant authorities on their situation, it is gravely concerned that the whereabouts and the current situation of Tamrat Negera and Kibrom Worku have not been disclosed to their families and legal counsel as of the time of release of this statement – which constitutes a violation of their visitation right. […] Visitation rights should be respected and guaranteed even under a state of emergency. ”

Eyasped Tesfaye and Meaza Mohammed are the other two journalists/activists the Commission expressed its concerns about. Both of them have not been brought to court since their arrest on December 8 and December 10 respectively. AS

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