“Even if there was a legal basis for journalist Tamirat’s detention, the circumstances of his continued detention with a remand order just an hour before the 48 hours legal limit, symbolizes an abuse of power and naked travesty of justice,” said Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in a statement.
Tamrat Negera’s case was closed and transferred to the state of emergency at his last court appearance on Dec 30. Though the state of emergency is lifted on Feb 15, the police brought him to court on Feb 17 and asked for an additional 14 days of investigation.
The court permitted the police the time it requested for the investigation.
“Recalling that Tamirat Negera had been in detention for 70 days as of February 17, 2022, there is no reasonable ground for remand and no alleged journalistic offense should lead to any form of pre-trial detention, let alone such extended detention. The authorities should release him and all others arbitrarily detained, immediately and without precondition,” said Daniel Bekele (PhD.), EHRC Chief Commissioner.
Tamrat Negera, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Terara Network was arrested from his home on Dec 10 and his whereabouts were not disclosed for seven days until he appeared at court on Dec 16. He was transferred from Addis Ababa Police to Gelan City Police Department in the Oromia Regional State.
In response to the police’s request for the case’s transfer to the state of emergency and the closure of the investigation case file, Gelan City Woreda Court ordered the closure of the file and transfer of the case to the state of emergency on Dec 30.