Ethiopia frees Eritrean journalists jailed for over a decade without charge

Ethiopia over the weekend freed two Eritrean journalists imprisoned for over a decade without formal charges.

The two, Tesfaldet Kidane and Salih Gama, employees of the Eritrean state broadcaster were arrested by Ethiopia in 2006 on the Kenya – Somali border and have been in prison since.

The Voice of America’s Horn of Africa service quoted a family member of Kidane as confirming that Gama – a cameraman had left Ethiopia since the release even though Kidane – a show host was still in Ethiopia.

Four months after their arrest in 2006, the Ethiopian government paraded them along with 39 others as a group of captured terrorism suspects. Neither governments hvve formally commented on the development.

Addis Ababa like Asmara are notorious in the area of press clampdown. As at 2016, both countries ranked very low on press freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Both countries are marked in the bracket of the worst jailers of journalists.

Political and security tensions between the two neighbours occasionally escalates since Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1993. Eritrea in its address to the United Nations 72nd General Assembly called for an end to what it said was Ethiopia’s continued occupation of sovereign Eritrea.

They also asked the United Nations Security Council to lift arms sanctions imposed on them since 2009. The U.S.-led sanctions were imposed with the reason that Asmara was supporting Somali-based Al-Shabaab insurgents, a claim they have denied.

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