(From CPJ, additional reporting and final editing by Issa Sikiti da Silva)
Yusuf Getachew, the editor-in-chief of Ye Muslimoch Guday (Muslim Affairs), was released from jail on Saturday after four years in detention, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has reported.
The release, which is part of a presidential pardon process, is meant to coincide with the country’s New Year and Eid-al-Adha celebrations, which take place on Monday.
Yusuf has been in detention since July 2012, and was serving a seven-year sentence on anti-terrorism charges, the New York-based media watchdog said.
Despite hosting the headquarters of the African Union (AU), an organisation which boasts about promoting civil liberties, Ethiopia – alongside Egypt and Eritrea – is an African country that has a high number of journalists in prison. Ten more journalists are still languishing in jail, including the famous Eskinder Nega, according to a CPJ census.
Ethiopia gets millions of US dollars in aid annually from the UK and the US, the latter being its key partner in the fight against terrorism in the Horn of Africa. Critics continue to lambast the two Western nations for bailing a government that oppresses its people and commits massive human rights violations.
Nevertheless, the CPJ has welcomed Yusuf’s release from jail.
“We are elated that Yusuf Getachew has finally been released from prison, but he should never have been jailed in the first place,” Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa programme coordinator, said in a statement.
“We call on the Ethiopian authorities to immediately release all other journalists imprisoned in the country for their work.”