Prison term: 5 years
Held at: Kality Prison
Reeyot Alemu was one of the first journalists arrested in a 2011 crackdown on dissent as authorities feared a popular uprising inspired by the Arab Spring. In January 2012, she was sentenced to 14 years in prison on trumped-up terrorism charges, but the term was reduced on appeal a few months later to five years. CPJ believes her conviction is in connection with critical columns she wrote for the leading independent weekly Feteh. Authorities threatened Reeyot with solitary confinement and she waged a hunger strike to protest restrictions on visits from family and friends. Her health has deteriorated severely in prison, but she is pursuing an international legal appeal against her conviction.
In 2013, Reeyot was awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize in recognition of her courage and commitment to freedom of expression. In 2012, she received the Courage in Journalism Award by the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF).
Key fact: Almost 60 percent of journalists behind bars in 2013 were jailed on anti-state charges such as subversion or terrorism.
- “E.P.R.D.F.: Exploiter of Compulsory Duty” is one of the last columns Reeyot wrote before her arrest.
- First published in August 2013, “Anti-Terrorism Proclamation | Born from Power Thirst,” was translated from Amharic for the IWMF.
- Reeyot’s acceptance speech for the 2012 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award was delivered in absentia.
- Use the hashtags #FreeThePress and #ReeyotAlemu.
- Call on Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom and Ethiopian Health Minister Kesete Admasu to free Reeyot.
- Tweet a message of support to the Media Legal Defence Initiative, a London-based organization representing Reeyot internationally.
- Watch a video on journalists in prison in Ethiopia.
- Sign a petition to free Reeyot.