PEN International protests the detention without charge of 17-year-old Akram Ezedin, acting editor of the privately-owned Islamic weekly newspaper Al-Quds. Ezedin was arrested on September 11, 2010, following the release of his father, Ezedin Mohamed, editor of Al-Quds, who was jailed in January for criticizing statements made by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. PEN believes that Ezedin’s arrest and imprisonment are in violation of his right to freedom of expression and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

Background Information

According to PEN’s information, Akram Ezedin, 17, took over running the Addis Ababa-based Al-Quds in January 2010 when his father, Ezedin Mohamed, the newspaper’s publisher and editor, was sentenced to one year in prison. Mohamed was convicted for a 2008 column criticizing statements made by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi during an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian.
 
On September 11, 2010, Mohamed was released and Ezedin arrested, reportedly on the basis of articles critical of the performance of the Islamic Council or Mejilis of the Afar region, published by Al-Quds in July. Ezedin is being held in a prison in Asaita, the regional capital of Afar. He has reportedly appeared in Afar's court four times but has yet to be charged.
 
Pre-trial detention is illegal under Ethiopia’s Mass Media and Freedom of Information Proclamation. Moreover, as Al-Quds is a national newspaper, any case against it should be heard in a federal court, not a state court.

Write A Letter

  • Protesting the arrest and detention without charge of 17-year-old Akram Ezedin following the release from prison of his father, Ezedin Mohamed, editor of the privately-owned Islamic weekly newspaper Al-Quds, on September 11, 2010;
  • Pointing out that Ezedin’s detention is in violation of his right to freedom of expression under international human rights treaties to which Ethiopia is a party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights;
  • Calling for Ezedin’s immediate and unconditional release.

Send Your Letter To

Minister of Justice
Berhanu Hailu
Ministry of Justice
P.O. Box 1370
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 551 7775/ 7755
Email: justice@telecom.net.et or ministry-justice@telecom.net.et

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Seyoum Mesfin
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
P.O. Box 393
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 551 43 00 
Email: mfa.addis@telecom.net.et

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Ethiopia in your country if possible.

Please contact PEN if sending appeals after January 16, 2011: ftw [at] pen.org