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Weeks after getting out from six years in prison, the popular journalist, Eskinder Nega and the politician Andualem Arage were arrested last week and are now being held at the Nifas Silk Police station. The arrest occurred during a ceremony in Jemo at Journalist Temesgen Desalgne’s home. Temesgen is also under custody.
Along with Eskinder, blogger, Befekadu Hailu, Mahlet Fantahun,Woinshet Molla, Adissu Fantahun, Adissu Getahun and Zelalem Werkaggnew are also in custody.
A friend of Eskinder told Capital that they still do not know why the police arrested them.
“Temsegen invited some people to his house for a welcoming ceremony after they spent six years in jail, however the police came and arrested them.”
In an interview with VOA Eskinder Nega’s Lawyer said that the Police are saying that the arrested group gathered outside which is prohibited under the current state of emergency and they displayed flags with no star in the middle.
He added that their case will be handled by the command post special court.
Protests and group gatherings are banned under the state of emergency and security forces are instructed to take action against people disturbing the peace. A special court has been set up to prosecute people who incite violence as well.
In recent interview with Capital, Andualem opposed the state of emergency by saying that it is not a real solution to curb the current problems of the country.
“It is a paradox for me. The government should open wide discussions with the people to understand the reasons behind the protest, the logic behind the unrest. Without providing a solution applying a state of emergency is moving the people from the dark to another dark place. It is about time to call all stakeholders who are concerned about their country to provide solutions,” he said.
Eskinder also agreed with Andualem’s opinion.
“It may handle problems for a temporary relief but like I said before there must be negation between parties and the government. I agree with the US Embassy’s stand against the state of emergency. The problem is here is a political problem not chaos and it must be solved through a political decision not by a state of emergency.”
Eskinder won awards from the International Press Institute (IPI)’s 69th World Press Freedom Hero, Golden Pen of Freedom, and PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write.