BY MAHLET FASIL @MAHLETFASIL
Addis Abeba, November 09/2020 – Members of Addis Abeba and federal police officer have on Saturday arrested Medihane Ekubamichael, product editor at Addis Standard publication.
Jakenn Publishing PLC, the publishers of Addis Standard publication, confirmed that Medihane was arrested and initially taken to undisclosed location on Saturday November 07, from his house in Addis Abeba. Medihane was at a regular editorial meeting on Saturday until 2:30 PM local time with the remaining staff members in the office.
Medihane was presented this morning at the Federal First Instant Court where the police received 14 days to remand him and investigate him. The police accused Medihane of “attempts to dismantle the constitution through violence,” and “outrage against the constitution.” He is currently held at Addis Abeba Police in Piassa.
The police have arrested him without a warrant, but returned to his residence on Sunday and searched the house in the absence of his wife, who was trying to locate his whereabouts. Police have confiscated his passport, ID cards, and personal laptop from the house.
“Medihane is an essential part of our newsroom and has proved his journalistic integrity at a time when independent media is increasingly under pressure from different interest groups. We urge the police to expedite his release. His absence at this critical moment when journalism is needed more than anytime else will greatly affect our ability to provide timely information,” said Tsedale Lemma, Editor-in-Chief of Addis Standard publication.
The polcie have received 14 days to remand and investigate Medihane. His next hearing is is adjourned until November 22.
Medihane is the second journalist to be arrested and presented to court since the federal government’s military offensive in Tigray region was announced in early hours of November 04.
On the same day the police have arrested Journalist Bekalu Alamirew of Awlo Media, an online based media, from his office. The police have also confiscated the media company’s equipment including three laptop computers a hard disk, voice recorders, his cellphone, memory cards other documents.
On November 06, Bekalu has appeared in court, according to Awlo Media. The police have accused Bekalu of interviewing Tigray region officials, producing reports undermining the government, producing articles in order to defame the government and undermine its credibility in collaboration with foreign forces, producing articles photographs aimed at inciting inter-communal violence, and inciting a civil war. The police have asked 14 days to remand and investigate Bekalu, but were given 6 days instead. The court has adjourned the next hearing until November 12.