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Ethiopia: Wife of detained journalist wants external action on political situation

Ethiopia: Wife of detained journalist wants external action on political situation

Ethiopia

Wife of a detained Ethiopian blogger and journalist wants the international community to move beyond rhetoric and act on political situation in the country.

Bezawit Hailegiorgis, 29, says despite Ethiopia being a sovereign nation, ‘‘we live in one system and the UK, the US and others do have leverage. Of course, pressure would work,’‘ she told the United Kingdom’s The Guardian newspaper.

Her 34-year-old husband, Anania Sorri, has been detained since last November under the October 2016 six-month state of emergency detained. According to his wife, he was arrested while on his way to a meeting at US embassy in the capital, Addis Ababa.

He was critical but always constructive … but being imprisoned is part of the job description of being a journalist here. It's a zero-sum game, where someone has to lose, and at the moment they are not losing.

‘‘His crime is his determination to speak out. He is a brilliant political journalist. He was critical but always constructive … but being imprisoned is part of the job description of being a journalist here. It’s a zero-sum game, where someone has to lose, and at the moment they are not losing,’‘ she is quoted to have said.

Her husband is among thousands held under Command Post administering the state of emergency. Political leaders and journalists are among persons who have been detained under the curfew.

The United States’ travel alert imposed on October 21 was renewed on December 6. This is despite the lifting of same by a number of European countries including Germany and Belgium. The US over the last year has been at the forefront of calls for political prisoners to be released.

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel also called on the government in November to initiate broad-based political dialogue. The European Union (EU) has also been loud on calls for the opening of the political space.

Authorities in the Horn of Africa country however hold that the state of emergency in its fifth month has been successful as it has ensured a return of peace. The country suffered a series of protests in main opposition strongholds of Amhara and Oromia regions.

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