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Reuters Journalist is Released by Ethiopian Police

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NAIROBI — Ethiopian police launched Reuters cameraman Kumerra Gemechu on Tuesday after detaining him with out cost for 12 days.

Police had advised his lawyer Melkamu Ogo that their strains of inquiry included accusations of disseminating false info, speaking with teams combating the federal government, and disturbing the general public’s peace and safety. However, Mr. Melkamu mentioned he had seen no proof.

“We are delighted that Kumerra has been released and reunited with his family. His release today affirms he has done nothing wrong,” Stephen J. Adler, the editor in chief of Reuters, mentioned in a press release.

“Kumerra is a journalist who has consistently demonstrated his professionalism and commitment to accuracy, as part of a Reuters team that reports from Ethiopia in a fair, independent and unbiased way,” Mr. Adler mentioned.

The Ethiopian police and the prosecutor’s workplace didn’t reply to questions from Reuters on the explanations for Mr. Kumerra’s arrest and subsequent launch.

Mr. Kumerra, 38, has labored for Reuters for a decade.

His household mentioned they had been getting ready a particular meal and searching ahead to having him home for Christmas, which many Ethiopian Christians will have fun on Thursday.

“We are so relieved that Kumerra has been released and would like to thank everyone who has supported us during this difficult time,” the household mentioned in a press release.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, has overseen sweeping reforms since taking workplace in 2018, together with a elevate on the ban of greater than 250 media retailers and the discharge of dozens of journalists.

However, rights teams say press freedom has eroded as the federal government confronted outbreaks of lethal violence together with combating between the army and insurgent forces within the northern area of Tigray.

Media watchdog teams reported the arrests of not less than 12 different journalists in Ethiopia final yr, seven of them in November when the Tigray battle broke out.

Only one journalist was charged, for social media posts about Covid-19 that had been denounced by the health ministry as false, in response to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists and Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.

Eight have since been launched and the remaining stay in custody, the 2 teams mentioned.

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