Temesgen Desalegn, Managing Editor of the weekly ‘Feteh’ Amharic magazine, was taken by plainclothed security officers this morning, according to a report from his brother.
Temesgen Desalegn’s arrest comes amid the recent string of dissident crackdowns on journalists and media staff which is supposedly related to the recent law enforcement operation the government is undertaking in the Amhara Regional State.
Temesgen Desalegn recently made an exclusive interview with Brigadier General Tefera Mamo entitled “Secrets of the General”, in which the Brigadier General voiced his concerns over the plausibility of the government’s plot to hand over Wolkait and Raya to Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the conspiracy targeted at Amhara Special Forces, and the irresponsibility observed in the defense forces during the war.
There have been unusual consecutive arrests of journalists and dissident voices in the last couple of weeks. It had been reported that more than 10 journalists, media personalities, and dissident voices were arrested since May 19, among which are Brigadier General Tefera Mamo, former head of Amhara Special Forces; Solomon Shumye, a popular TV host; Meskerem Abera, a political commentator, along with journalists and staff members of Ashara and Nisir Media.
Regarding the allegations of the arrests, Brigadier General Tefera Mamo was said to be arrested under the suspicion of an attempt to dismantle the constitutional system by force while Meskerem Abera was accused of an attempt to sow discord between the Amhara Regional State and the federal government.
The government has recently announced that it is conducting law enforcement operations in various areas including the Amhara region on unlawful groups that are invoking instability in the country.
The Amhara regional government reported that it has made more than 4,000 arrests in the course of its law enforcement operation. Nevertheless, it has faced backlashes from different groups.
The Amhara opposition party, the National Movement of Amhara (NaMA), criticized the move as an attempt to silence dissident voices. NaMA said, although it respected the upholding of the rule of law, the law enforcement operation is being used by opportunists to silence voices of opposition.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) also said many of the arrests were made without a court order and that many have failed to appear in the court. EHRC stressed in a statement that the arrests did not follow proper procedures and that such wider arrests were not necessary. The rights body further cautioned federal and regional security structures from making arrests on journalists because of their work, without proper investigation and a court’s order.