New York Review of Books: Free Eskinder Nega!
We are banned Ethiopian journalists who were charged with treason by the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi subsequent to disputed election results in 2005, incarcerated under deplorable circumstances, only to be acquitted sixteen months later, after Serkalem prematurely gave birth in prison. Despite Serkalem’s difficult pregnancy, both of us managed to keep detailed notes of the sham trial while it was in progress, which were smuggled out of prison. The notes were swiftly altered into a 1000-page book and rushed to a printer for publication.… Fifteen days later we received an unexpected call from a much-traumatized proprietor of the printing press, who returned our manuscript and deposit, explaining that he had been visited by members of the Ethiopian security, who explicitly threatened his life should he fail to halt printing of the book. Such is the government that PM Meles Zenawi leads. A few months later we applied for a press license to resume our work as journalists after fulfilling all legal requirements. To the surprise of even the government’s apologists, we and others were officially denied press licenses that are our due by virtue of the constitution and the press law.
As we await news of Eskinder’s sentence, PEN urges everyone who has not already done so to take a few minutes to watch this moving video tribute that introduced Eskinder at the PEN Gala in May, and this video of Serkalem Fasil’s powerful acceptance remarks on his behalf.