Journalist Reeyot is on a hunger strike

September 11, 2013

Following the orders of Kaliti Prison authorities yesterday that Journalist and educator Reeyot Alemu could only be visited by her parents and a religious Father, Reey0t has kicked off a hunger strike.

Her younger sister, Eskedar Alemu wrote on her Facebook wall that Reeyot Alemu is finding herself in an extremely difficult predicament in Kaliti prison.

Eskedar said in her Note that the Head of Female Prisoners’ Rooms of the Prison known as Aminazer has been abusive to Reeyot and her visitors. And now, Colonel Haymanot Tesfaye, an ex-rebel and official of the TPLF, who was recently arrested following her husband, Gebrewahed Woldegiorgis (former Deputy Director of Customs and Revenue Authority and TPLF member) on corruption charges, has been placed in the same room with Reeyot and was given a bed next to Reeyot. Colonel Haymanot has been insulting and threatening Reeyot the whole night. Reeyot and her families now fear for Reeyot’s “life and safety”.

A profile about Reeyot on IWMF Website narrates “Reeyot Alemu has been imprisoned in Ethiopia for more than a year, branded as a terrorist. She is one of many journalists who have been arrested, interrogated and threatened in her country. What makes Alemu exceptional are her commitment to work for independent media when the prospect of doing so became increasingly dangerous, her refusal to self-censor in a place where that practice is standard, and her unwillingness to apologize for truth-telling, even though contrition could win her freedom. In jail, Alemu was offered clemency if she agreed to testify against journalist colleagues. She refused and was sent to solitary confinement for 13 days as punishment for her failure to cooperate. She is currently being kept at Kality prison, which is known for its filthy conditions. Recently, she has fallen ill; in April of this year she underwent surgery at nearby hospital to remove a tumor from her breast, after which she was returned to jail with no recovery time.”

She was sentenced to 14 years in prison and fined 33,000 birrs (about $1,850) which in August 2012 an appeals court later reduced the 14-year prison sentence to 5 years.

Reeyot Alemu won the 2013 UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
posted by Daniel tesfaye


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