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Editor released; his son jailed

(WiPC/IFEX) - The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International (WiPC) protests the detention without charge of 17-year-old Akram Ezedin, acting editor of the privately owned Islamic weekly newspaper "Al-Quds". Ezedin was arrested on 11 September 2010 following the release of his father, Ezedin Mohamed, editor of "Al-Quds", who was jailed in January for criticizing statements made by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The WiPC believes that Ezedin's arrest and imprisonment are in violation of his right to freedom of expression and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

Akram Ezedin took over the running of the Addis Ababa-based "Al-Quds" in January when his father Ezedin Mohamed, the newspaper's publisher and editor, was sentenced to one year in prison. Mohamed was convicted for a 2008 column criticizing statements made by Prime Minister Zenawi during an interview with the British newspaper "The Guardian".

On 11 September, Mohamed was released and Ezedin arrested, reportedly on the basis of articles critical of the performance of the Islamic Council or Mejilis of Afar region, published by "Al-Quds" in July. Ezedin is being held in a prison in Asaita, the regional capital of Afar. He has reportedly appeared in Afar's court four times but has yet to be charged.

Pre-trial detention is illegal under Ethiopia's Mass Media and Freedom of Information Proclamation. Moreover, as "Al-Quds" is a national newspaper, any case against it should be heard in a federal and not a state court.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Please send appeals to the authorities:
• Protesting the arrest and detention without charge of 17-year-old Akram Ezedin following the release from prison of his father Ezedin Mohamed, editor of the privately owned Islamic weekly newspaper "Al-Quds", on 11 September 2010;
• Pointing out that Ezedin's detention is in violation of his right to freedom of expression protected under international human rights treaties to which Ethiopia is a party, including the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights;
• Calling for Ezedin's immediate and unconditional release.


APPEALS TO:

Minister of Justice
Berhanu Hailu
Ministry of Justice
P.O. Box 1370
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 551 7775/ 7755
Email: [email protected]
[email protected]
Salutation: Dear Minister

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr Seyoum Mesfin
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
PO Box 393
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 551 43 00
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Minister

Please also send a copy of your letter to your nearest Ethiopian diplomatic representative (the contact details for some Ethiopian embassies are listed here: http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/Ethiopia/Ethiopia1.html )

Please send appeals immediately. Check with International PEN if sending appeals after 16 January 2011.

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