Kerry Responds to Kristof ‘s Tweet About Arrests of Bloggers in Ethiopia

Secretary of State John Kerry and author Nicholas Kristof. (Photo credit: Department of State and WEF)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Tuesday April 29th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Secretary of State John Kerry responded to a tweet from New York Times Op-Ed columnist Nicholas Kristof regarding the recent arrests of several independent journalists and bloggers in Ethiopia. Soon after news of the crackdown in Addis Ababa broke on social media this past weekend, Kristof had tweeted saying “Let’s hope that when John Kerry visits Ethiopia in coming days, he’ll forcefully raise issue of imprisoned bloggers & journalists.”

Kerry who is visiting Ethiopia this week as part of a three country tour of Africa (including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola) assured the award winning journalist that the matter remains high on his agenda. “Important issue,” Kerry replied. “US will stay committed to helping promote & protect press freedom in all corners of world.”

New York-based Human Rights Watch organization notes that “on the afternoon of April 25, police in uniform and civilian clothes conducted what appeared to be a coordinated operation of near-simultaneous arrests. Six members of a group known as the “Zone9” bloggers – Befekadu Hailu, Atnaf Berahane, Natnael Feleke, Mahlet Fantahun, Zelalem Kibret, and Abel Wabela – were arrested at their offices and in the streets. Tesfalem Weldeyes, a freelance journalist, was also arrested during the operation. Edom Kassaye, a second freelance journalist, was arrested on either April 25 or 26; the circumstances of her arrest are unclear but all eight individuals were apparently taken to Maekelawi Police Station, the federal detention center in Addis Ababa, the capital. The arrests also came days before Ethiopia is scheduled to have its human rights record assessed at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review in Geneva on May 6.”

All of the accused have been charged with “inciting public violence” and colluding with “a foreign organization.”

Below is the twitter exchange between Kerry and Kristof:



Ethiopian Government Charges Journalists With Inciting Public Violence (VOA News)
Arrests Upstage Kerry’s Ethiopia Visit (HRW)

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