Reeyot Alemu, an Ethiopian journalist who was unexpectedly released from prison last week after being convicted on terrorism charges, vows to continue her work as a reporter.
“I am sure I will continue my writings because it’s my job, and also its my passion to write,” she said. “And also I want to serve my country. I want to make Ethiopia a democratic country, it is my responsibility as a citizen and as a journalist also.”
Reeyot had spent four years and 17 days in prison after a conviction many believe was a result of her articles which criticized the Ethiopian government.
She believes that her writings may lead to future imprisonment, as she does not believe this government allows anyone to live safely in Ethiopia while opposing those in power.
The Manipulation of Political Prisoners for Political Gain in Ethiopia
SMNE Press Release
Washington, DC, July 14, 2015
The Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE) strongly condemns the recent verdict of the Ethiopian Federal High Court Fourth Criminal Bench concerning eighteen Ethiopians of Muslim faith who were found guilty on counts of attempted terrorism, conspiracy and incitement on July 6, 2015.
Those convicted include six members of the Ethiopian Muslims Arbitration Committee, eight scholars, two journalists, one artist and one student. They had been arrested in July 2012 related to their leadership roles in objecting to government interference in their internal religious affairs, in violation of Ethiopian law and the Constitution. This interference included at least three major complaints [see SMNE link]:
Now we know what it takes to get your hacking tools taken away if you’re a repressive government.
It’s not enough to get caught spying on U.S.-based journalists — or even to have the story plastered on the front page of a major U.S. newspaper. But if you get caught doing it again because of your own sloppiness, that may just be enough to shame your vendor into cutting you off.
That’s what the public is now learning from a massive trove of e-mails and documents released online this week from Italian company Hacking Team, which was itself hacked.
Thus spoke Reeyot Alemu to the Voice of America- Amharic Service on July 9, 2015, a few hours after she was literally thrown out of the infamous Meles Zenawi Prison in Kality, (Ethiopia’s “Robben Island”) on the outskirts of Addis Ababa:
I will continue to fully struggle to make Ethiopia a good place where democracy and justice prevail. Until I can see such an Ethiopia, I will continue my struggle.
Reeyot served 4 years and 17 days (that is 1480 days) in prison on a 14-year sentence commuted to 5 years.
The great Nelson Mandela warned his apartheid oppressors,