Target: Justice Minister, Berhane Hailu
Goal: Obtain the release of six peaceful activists in Ethiopia
The government of Ethiopia should do everything in its power to immediately and unconditionally release six bloggers, unless charges in line with international law are brought against them. These arrests are the latest in a string of politically motivated actions targeting journalists, and come directly before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) surveys Ethiopia for human rights offenses. These arrests should be condemned by the UNHCR.
The bloggers are part of a group called ‘Zone9,’ dedicated to exposing human rights violations in Ethiopia. All the arrests were conducted by police officers in civilian clothing. All of the bloggers were taken to the Maekelawi Police Station in Addis Ababa. They have not been allowed any contact with family members or legal counsel. Family members were only allowed to leave food for the imprisoned activists.
Since the arrests, police have seized private laptops, literature and notes taken by the bloggers. The police have stated that search warrants were issued in accordance with the law but there is no evidence of this. The arrests of these bloggers were politically motivated and are part of an effort by the government to prohibit freedom of expression in Ethiopia. Sign this petition to call for the immediate and unconditional release of the ‘Zone9’ bloggers.
Dear Minister Berhane Hailu,
The recent arrests of bloggers from the ‘Zone9’ cooperative are illegal under international law. Charges that have been brought against these men and women should immediately be dropped or changed to fall in line with international regulations. I ask that you do all that you can to unconditionally release these peaceful activists.
These arrests also come after a long string of actions targeting journalists. Your government has a responsibility to defend the human rights of all Ethiopians. The United Nations Human Rights Council is going to be evaluating your human rights record soon and will look unfavorably on these actions. I ask that you immediately change the way your government operates in relation to human rights.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: SKopp via Wikipedia Commons