Ethiopia re-arrests prominent journalist Eskinder Nega and 10 others
By Ethiomedia
March 26, 2018

ADDIS ABABA - Prominent Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega and opposition figure Andualem Aragie, who were released from years of prison only recently, were re-arrested on Sunday along with nine other journalists and opposition figures.

Eskinder, Andualem, blogger Befekadu Hailu and the remaining were taken to prison while they were attending an award-giving ceremony in recognition of the sacrifices the activists paid for the common good, Deutsche Welle Amharic program reported on Sunday.

The prize-giving ceremony was organized at the residence of journalist Temesgen Desalegn, who was also taken to prison. Temesgen was also released last October after three years of imprisonment.

The security forces accused the organizers and guests of using a "former" Ethiopian flag instead of a government-endorsed flag which bears a huge star. The public considers the government version of the flag as an act of disfiguring the national tricolor.

The other detainees are Abebe Qesto, Natnael Mekonnen, Mamushet Amare, Olbana Lelisa, Emawayish Alemu, Zelalem Workagegnehu, and Mahlet Fantahun.

"All of a sudden security forces surrounded us for a while, and accused us of flying the Ethiopian flag instead of the flag which is endorsed by the ruling party," one of the organizers of the event told DW by phone.

The EPRDF-endorsed flag which sports a huge star has been the subject of public-ridicule and rejection.

DW said the police wanted to detain an individual responsible for organizing the event but were told by those detained that they were all responsible for the event by which time the police used their van to transport the activists to a detention center.

Families and friends who took meals and clothing to the prisoners were turned back by police.

There was a sense of relief when the government released hundreds of political prisoners in February, though government critics have always doubted the sincerity of the act. Ethiomedia - An African-American news and views website.
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