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Take Action! – Blogger Detained for Criticizing State Of Emergency

(Ethiopia: UA 255/16)

(Amnesty International) — Zone 9 blogger Befeqadu Hailu was arbitrarily arrested and is being detained due to his open criticism of the Ethiopian government during a media interview. He should be immediately and unconditionally released.

Befeqadu Hailu
Abel Wabela; Befeqadu Hailu; Natnael Feleke and Atnaf Berahane. Four of the nine people arrested in Ethiopia 25 and 26 April 2014 for using blogs to for pro- social debates including human rights violations.
Six Zone 9 bloggers and three journalists were arrested on 25 and 26 April 2014 just days after they announced they would resume their blogging and activism activities following months of harassment and intimidation. Zone 9 bloggers have used blogs and social media to promote fresh debate on societal issues, including on human rights violations. Five of the nine arrested bloggers and writers were released from Kilinto Prison in Addis Ababa on 8 and 9 July 2015. All charges against Zalalem Kiberet, Tesfalem Weldeyes, Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, Mahlet Fantahun, and Edom Kassaye have been dropped with no formal explanation. Befekadu Hailu, Natnael Feleke, Atnaf Berahane and Abel Wabela still remain behind bars awaiting trial. There have been 36 adjournments in their trial so far, and a new trial date of 19 September 2015 has been set. Amnesty considers the four Zone 9 bloggers to be prisoners of conscience

Security officers arrested prominent Zone 9 blogger Befeqadu Hailu from his home on 11 November at 6: 30 am local time. The police told Befeqadu Hailu during interrogation that he is being detained for criticizing the state of emergency the Ethiopian Government declared on 9 October during an interview with Voice of America (VOA) Amharic service on 30 October. He is being detained at a Police Station near CMC in Addis Ababa. According to the state of emergency currently in place in Ethiopia, Befeqadu Hailu will not be able to challenge the legality of his detention. His Twitter and Facebook accounts were deactivated after his arrest.
In the past, Befeqadu Hailu and others have suffered torture and other ill treatment while in pre-trial detention at Maekelawi Prison. Amnesty International believes that Befeqadu Hailu is at risk of torture and other ill treatment while in detention.
Amnesty International considers Befeqadu Hailu a prisoner of conscience arrested and detained solely for exercising his freedom of expression. He must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
Calling on the Ethiopian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Befeqadu Hailu;
Calling on them to ensure that pending Befeqadu Hailu’s release, he is not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment;
Urging them to ensure that he is given access to his lawyer.

Contact these two officials by 27 December, 2016:

Prime Minister
Hailemariam Dessalegn
FDRE Prime Minister
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 122 6292
Salutation: Your Excellency
Ambassador Girma Birru
Embassy of Ethiopia
3506 International Drive, NW, Washington DC 20008
T: 202 364 1200 | F: 202 587 0195
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Here’s why it is so important to report your actions: we record the number of actions taken on each case and use that information in our advocacy. Either email

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