Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Ethiopian police refuse to release journalists granted bail

Ethiopian authorities have refused to release three detained journalists, despite a court order they be given bail.

Solomon Shumye, Meaza Mohammed and Temesgen Desalegn appeared Tuesday morning before the Federal First Instance Court and were granted bail of about USD 190 each.

However, the federal police force immediately appealed the judge’s decision at the High Court. The High Court overruled the lower court’s decision, and the three journalists were returned to police custody.

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Their lawyer, Henok Aklilu, told VOA he was expecting that to happen but will continue to seek their release.

“These things have been very much common when politically motivated cases come to court, especially journalists who are very much critical of the regime,” he said adding “So, I was not surprised. You know, they give you bail in the lower court and it will be overturned by the higher court.”

The three journalists are amongst the 19 arrested last month in a crackdown aimed at reporters who have been critical of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.

Henok said he has filed an appeal before the Supreme Court, so the case does not become a criminal matter but is instead handled under Ethiopia’s Media Proclamation Law, which prohibits the detention of journalists.

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