H.E. Tedros Adhanom
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
I write to you on behalf of Eskinder Nega, an Ethiopian journalist and human rights activist who has been subjected to a series of outrageous injustices that we hope that you can help correct. Most recently, he was arrested on September 14, 2011 and ultimately sentenced to 18 years in prison for writing articles calling for freedom of expression and an end to torture in Ethiopia.
Sadly, this is not the first time that Eskinder has been jailed for his activism. Eskinder and his wife, Serkalem are both newspaper publishers and were both previously jailed for speaking out against the government in 2005.
In 2005, the Ethiopian government ordered a violent crackdown on post-election protests in which security forces reportedly killed nearly two hundred people. Both Eskinder and Serkalem wrote and published articles criticizing the government’s actions. For this, they were both arrested and imprisoned in November of 2005. Serkalem was pregnant at the time of her arrest.
In June 2006, Serkalem gave birth in a police hospital to their son, Nafkot. It was through a protracted letter writing campaign that Amnesty International and our human rights group Global Importune helped secure the release of then 7 month old Nafkot in January of 2007 to his relatives after 7 months imprisonment with his mother Serkalem. Through an additional letter writing campaign, our group helped facilitate the release of Eskinder and his wife, Serkalem in April of 2007.
Now, according to Eskinder, “freedom of expression and press freedoms are at their lowest point.” The government has enacted a “terrorism” law that they use to silence anybody critical of them. The government has used these laws to threaten Eskinder, ban him from writing, forced his wife Serkalem to stop publishing, terrorize their family and threaten Eskinder with the death penalty.
For Eskinder, his most recent arrest was one more brutal act of oppression in a life spent being hounded by his government for defending human rights. Few families have sacrificed more for their people. And now – the government has arrested Eskinder alongside many other prominent journalists for writing the truth.
I, as well as the many members of Amnesty International around the world believe that Eskinder Nega is a “Prisoner of Conscience”, someone who is being detained solely for his peaceful and legitimate activities as a journalist. We therefore call for his, as well as the many other unjustly arrested journalists’, immediate and unconditional release.
If you feel the work we do is important, we would like you to be a part of it.
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- Email Mark Konrad at firstname.lastname@example.org and say “I would like to help release amnesty international political prisoners, please tell me how.”
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