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Ethiopian blogger arrested by police

Ethiopian Police last week arrested a prominent blogger at his home in Woliso, searched his house, and confiscated his computer, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported this week, urging the authorities to immediately release him.

It was not immediately clear what charges, if any, Seyoum Teshome faced, the New York-based media watchdog said, adding that Ethiopia’s information minister, Getachew Reda, did not immediately respond to its request for comment.

Seyoum, who is also a university lecturer, writes for the website ethiothinkthank.com.

“This arrest of a prominent writer and commentator is deeply disturbing as it comes against a backdrop of government moves to stifle protests and criticism,” CPJ deputy executive director Robert Mahoney said.

“Seyoum should be released without delay and without condition.”

Ethiopia was the third-worst jailer of journalists in 2015, according to a CPJ census published last year. Several bloggers are among those held on vague terrorism-related charges, including the prominent blogger Eskinder Nega, CPJ said.

CPJ said Nega was arrested in 2011, tried and sentenced afterwards for 18 years, after he wrote an article highlighting the use of anti-terrorism legislation to harass opposition activists.

The Horn of Africa nation houses the headquarters of the African Union (AU), an organisation seen by many Africans as a lame duck, inconsistent and toothless institution unable to solve the continent’s recurring problems, which include massive human violations and a myriad of endless armed conflicts.

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