Home | News    Friday 20 September 2013

Ethiopia admits imposing new restrictions against jailed journalist


By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

September 19, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Ethiopian government on Thursday admitted imposing new visitor restrictions against journalist Reeyot Alemu, who remains in prison on terrorism-related offenses.

JPEG - 14.5 kb
Reeyot Alemu (CPJ)

“Reeyot Alemu has repeatedly violated prison laws, she is abusive and ill-reputed. As a result prison officials, according to the law, have taken disciplinary measures”, government spokesperson, Shimels Kemal told Sudan Tribune.

Kemal said the latest restrictions were only imposed on her regular visitors and not her relatives.

However, the official warned that if Alemu continues to violate prison laws and regulations, authorities have the right to even restrict her from having any visitors.

Press freedom group, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), said the new restrictions were in retaliation against a hunger strike she began on Wednesday in protest against orders by prison authorities to turn in a list of her visitors.

Alemu, who has been a columnist for the banned private weekly Fitih, was detained in June 2011 after she was found guilty of terrorism related charges.

Her original 14-year sentence was reduced to five years last August after an appeal lodged at the Federal Supreme Court.


International right groups have condemned the measures and are calling for an urgent lifting of the new restrictions.

"We call upon the Ethiopian authorities to lift these latest restrictions and allow Reeyot Alemu to receive all visitors," said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes.

"She is a journalist, not a criminal, and should not be behind bars," Rhodes added.

CPJ said the denial of rights to Reeyot runs counter to the Ethiopian Constitution, which states: "All persons shall have the opportunity to communicate with, and to be visited by, their spouses or partners, relatives and friends, religious counselors, lawyers and medical practitioners."

Reporters Without Borders similarly condemned the decision and expressed grave concern over her situation.

"The denial of visitors to Reyot Alemu is endangering her mental health," Reporters Without Borders said.

"This further deterioration in her situation compounds the already deplorable conditions that she has endured for more than two years. We call for her immediate and unconditional release."


Speaking to Sudan Tribune, government spokesperson, Shimels Kemal stressed that Reyot Alemu was not a journalist and addressing her as journalist must be corrected.

“She is professionally an elementary school teacher and occasionally writing to a little known circulation won’t make her a journalist” he said.

He added she was involved with a terrorist network and was accordingly found guilty by court.

“It is not right for CPJ to stand by someone who is not a journalist. CPJ is taking wild imaginations only aimed to blame Ethiopia and tarnish [the] country’s image” Kemal further said.


Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

How Salva Kiir going to be remembered in South Sudan history? 2019-07-21 07:16:53 By Lul Gatkuoth Gatluak This article is focusing on Salva Kiir’s South Sudan Independence Day address, his successes, failures and most importantly, how history will judge and remember him since (...)

Why Sudanese should cautiously celebrate the political declaration? 2019-07-20 05:47:52 By Luka Biong Deng Kuol As Sudanese have every reason to celebrate the political declaration signed by the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) and Transitional Military Council (TMC), one may (...)

Change in Sudan requires consensus between civilian and armed forces 2019-07-20 05:47:42 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman Cleansing the Effects of the Systematic Demolition of the State of Sudan Over the past 30 years requires a minimum consensus agreement between the components of the (...)


Latest Press Releases

Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders back calls for civil rule 2019-04-26 10:22:06 Press statement by 55 Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders on Sudan Sit-in and Peaceful Protest Khartoum -24/04/2019 We, the undersigned (55) Sudanese lawyers and human rights defenders, (...)

South Sudan’s Lafon youth condemn killings of civilians by Pari community 2019-04-03 21:54:29 Press Statement on the Fighting between Pari/ Pacidi and Lotuko/Lokiri on 24/3/2019 Release by The Lafon County Youth Union: We, the Lafon County Youth Union hereby condemn the atrocities and (...)

Joseph Malwal Dong joined the SPLM/A -IO 2019-04-02 08:35:02 SPLM/A (IO) Press Release 1/4/2019 On Hon. Joseph Malwal Dong Joined the SPLM/A (IO) The leadership of the SPLM/A (IO) would like to seize this precious opportunity to announce to members and (...)


Copyright © 2003-2019 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.