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Ethiopia: French journalist Antoine Galindo released

2024-02-29T23:13:55.699Z

Highlights: French journalist Antoine Galindo, imprisoned for a week in Ethiopia, was released on Friday and on his way to France. He was arrested on February 22 in a hotel in central Addis Ababa, along with an official of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a legally registered opposition party. Ethiopia ranked 130th in the world in terms of press freedom, compared to 16 places down to 2022. After decades of repression, press freedom had made spectacular progress when current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018.


Incarcerated for almost a week in Addis Ababa, the journalist employed by the specialized publication Africa Intelligence was released this


His detention ended.

French journalist Antoine Galindo, imprisoned for a week in Ethiopia, was released on Friday and on his way to France, announced his employer, the specialist publication Africa Intelligence.

“I'm fine, I'm in good health” and “I was well treated”, despite difficult detention conditions, Antoine Galindo told an AFP journalist before his departure.

“Antoine Galindo was released on February 29 after a week of incarceration and was able to leave Addis Ababa to return to Paris,” said Paul Deutschmann, editor-in-chief at Africa Intelligence.

His release “is a real relief for the entire Africa Intelligence editorial team who can’t wait to find Antoine,” he added.

A release also welcomed by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists on X (formerly Twitter).

#BREAKING: French journalist Antoine Galindo leaves #Ethiopia after releasehttps://t.co/AeJWIfEz54



CPJ welcomed the release on Thursday, February 29, of French journalist Antoine Galindo, who was arrested in Ethiopia on February 22, and urged Ethiopian authorities to … pic.twitter.com/Mmz504Gf6y

— CPJ Africa (@CPJAfrica) February 29, 2024

Galindo was arrested on February 22 in a hotel in central Addis Ababa, along with an official of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a legally registered opposition party, with whom he had a meeting.

The latter is still incarcerated.

The French journalist appeared two days later before a judge who ordered his continued detention.

At the hearing, police said they suspected the journalist of “conspiring to create chaos” in Ethiopia.

Africa Intelligence denounced “false accusations” which “are not based on any tangible element” and an “unjustified arrest”.

Antoine Galindo, 36, head of the East Africa section, arrived in Ethiopia on February 13 to cover the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, headquarters of the pan-African organization which had issued him an accreditation.

On Wednesday, Selamawit Kassa, Ethiopian Secretary of State for Communication, indicated that the French journalist had been arrested for having exceeded his accreditation, which authorized him, according to her, only to cover the AU Summit, and had illegally collected “information on internal political matters” in Ethiopia.

Local conflicts

The second most populous country in Africa (120 million inhabitants) and a mosaic of some 80 ethnolinguistic communities, Ethiopia is undermined by several local conflicts, particularly in the two most populous regional states, Oromia and Amhara. .

In Oromia, which has some 40 million mainly Oromo inhabitants, federal forces have been confronting the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) since 2018.

Classified as a “terrorist organization” in Ethiopia, it was born from a split in the OLF when it renounced armed struggle and was legalized.

In Amhara, a state of emergency has been in force since August to try - so far without success - to quell the Fano insurrection, popular Amhara militias who took up arms in April 2023 against the federal authorities.

Also read: Deaths of civilians and mass exodus: 5 minutes to understand the conflict in Tigray

The state of emergency suspends a certain number of rights and freedoms, particularly in terms of arrests and detentions.

It applies throughout Ethiopia to anyone suspected of involvement in the violence in this region of around 23 million inhabitants, mainly populated by Amhara.

After decades of repression, press freedom had made spectacular progress when current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, who freed several journalists and opponents.

But the situation has deteriorated profoundly again since 2020 and the start of two years of war against the dissident authorities of the regional state of Tigray.

Ethiopia has incarcerated several Ethiopian journalists and expelled several foreign journalists since 2020, but the imprisonment of a foreign journalist is a first in more than three years.

In mid-2020, a Kenyan journalist, Yassin Juma, was detained for more than a month, although the Ethiopian justice system ordered his release.

Seen when he came to power as a reformer capable of modernizing Ethiopia after decades of authoritarian regimes, Abiy Ahmed, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2019, disappointed the hopes placed in him.

In 2023, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Ethiopia ranked 130th in the world in terms of press freedom, down 16 places compared to 2022. According to the NGO, as of January 1, 2024, 15 journalists were in prison.

Source: leparis

All news articles on 2024-02-29

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