The African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) welcomes the release on bail of journalists Amir Aman Kiyaro and Thomas Enigda, and calls on the Ethiopian authorities to drop all charges against them.
Amir Aman Kiyaro and Thomas Enigda of the Associated Press were arrested on November 28, 2021, by Ethiopian security forces on terrorism charges.
The journalists were detained under Ethiopia’s Proclamation on Anti-Terrorism of August 2009. The security forces alleged that the journalists were promoting a terrorist group. That was the grounds for their arrest and illegal detention.
According to this Ethiopia Anti-Terrorist Law, if the journalists are found guilty, they risk up to 15 years of a prison sentence.
Following a suit filed by the legal counsel of the journalist, a court on March 29, 2022, granted Kiyaro and Enigda bail. But the fate of journalist Negera, is not clear.
AFEX condemns the arrest and illegal detention of the journalists, and all attempts to muzzle and intimidate journalists in Ethiopia.
Although Amir Aman Kiyaro and Thomas Enigda have been granted bail, they still may face the risk of further legal persecution if the Prosecutor proceeds to press charges against them. AFEX, therefore, calls on the authorities to drop all charges against the journalists, end the illegal, and arbitrary detention, and allow journalists to do their work free from fear and threats.
AFEX also urges the authorities to repeal the Anti-Terrorism Law, under which at least three journalists, Tamerat Negera, Dessu Dulla, and ONN reporter Bikila Amenu, are being detained.