Atnaf Berhane

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Statements   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia Supreme Court says two Zone 9 bloggers should face incitement charges

Members of the Zone 9 blogging group. (Endalkachew H/Michael)

New York, April 6, 2017--Ethiopia's Supreme Court today ruled that two bloggers from the Zone 9 collective, previously acquitted of terrorism charges, should be tried instead on charges of inciting violence through their writing. If convicted of the charge, Atnaf Berhane and Natnail Feleke would face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, according to the Addis Standard newspaper.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian newspaper editor, bloggers caught in worsening crackdown

Members of the Zone 9 blogging group. (Endalkachew H/Michael)

Nairobi, November 17, 2016--Ethiopia should immediately release all journalists detained amid an intensifying crackdown on the media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. In recent weeks, Ethiopian authorities have jailed a newspaper editor and detained two members of the award-winning Zone 9 bloggers' collective, which has faced continuous legal harassment on terrorism and incitement charges. A fourth journalist has been missing for a week; his family fears he is in state custody.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia arrests second journalist in a week, summons Zone 9 bloggers

Nairobi, December 27, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in Ethiopia to release the editor-in-chief of Negere Ethiopia online newspaper, Getachew Shiferaw, who was arrested on Friday, according to news reports.

Statements   |   Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, Zone 9 bloggers acquitted of terrorism charges

Nairobi, October 16, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the acquittal by an Ethiopian court today of four Zone 9 bloggers charged with terrorism. Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, and Natnail Feleke, jailed since April 2014, are scheduled to be released today, while exiled blogger Soleyana S. Gebremichael was acquitted in absentia, news reports said. A fifth Zone 9 blogger, Befekadu Hailu, was acquitted of terrorism charges but is being held on charges of inciting violence, the reports said. His bail hearing is set for Wednesday.

Statements   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia releases five journalists, drops all charges against them

Nairobi, July 8, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from prison today of two bloggers affiliated with the independent Ethiopian collective Zone 9 and three other journalists. All charges have been dropped against them, according to exiled Ethiopian journalists who spoke to CPJ and a report by the pro-government Fana Radio. The journalists--editor Asmamaw Hailegiorgis; freelancers Edom Kassaye and Tesfalem Waldyes; and bloggers Mahlet Fantahun and Zelalem Kibret--were arrested in late April 2014, along with four other Zone 9 bloggers--Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Befekadu Hailu, and Natnail Feleke. All were charged with incitement and terrorism, according to news reports.

Attacks on the Press   |   Ethiopia

Conflating terrorism and journalism in Ethiopia

Exiled Ethiopian journalists perform a traditional coffee ceremony in a shared, cramped apartment in Nairobi. A wave of arrests prompted at least 30 Ethiopian journalists to flee into exile in 2014.  (CPJ/Nicole Schilit)

At the Lideta courthouse in Ethiopia's capital city, Addis Ababa, stands a statue of a blindfolded woman holding a set of scales in her outstretched hand--a universal symbol of justice, here cast in metal of pinkish gold and wearing thick braids in her hair.

Blog   |   Ethiopia

One year after arrest Zone 9 bloggers remain imprisoned as trial drags on

It will be one year this weekend since six bloggers were arrested in Addis Ababa, just days after the group announced on Facebook that their Zone 9 blog would resume publishing after seven months of inactivity. As the anniversary of the arrests approaches on Saturday, Soleyana S. Gebremichale, one of the Zone 9 founders who was charged in absentia, told me the situation was not hopeless.

Blog   |   Ethiopia

CPJ calls on Ethiopian government to release imprisoned journalists

CPJ is among a group of more than 40 regional and international press freedom and civil society organizations that have signed a joint letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn expressing concern over the recent imprisonment of Ethiopian journalists under the country's far-reaching 2009 anti-terrorism law.

Statements   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian authorities charge nine journalists with terrorism

Nairobi, July 17, 2014--An Ethiopian court charged nine Ethiopian journalists arrested in April with inciting violence and terrorism, according to local journalists and news reports. The nine arrested include six bloggers from an independent collective called Zone 9, which publishes critical news and commentary.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists

Nairobi, July 14, 2014--The Ethiopian government should end its politicized prosecution of nine Ethiopian journalists arrested in April. The journalists and their lawyers were shut out of court room hearings in recent days.

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