The Associated Press is calling for the immediate release of Amir Aman Kiyaro, an AP-accredited freelance journalist who is being detained in Ethiopia.
Kiyaro was detained under the country’s state of emergency powers put into effect due to the ongoing war. He is accused of “serving the purposes” of a terrorist group, the KnowGood Podcast explains.
Kiyaro was reportedly returning from a reporting trip when police took him and two other journalists into custody.
"They were caught while producing promotional content for a group that has been designated as a terrorist organization," Mohammed Edris, head of the Ethiopian Media Authority, told Reuters, says a Voice of America article. The organization Edris is referring is the Oromo Liberation Army, commonly called the OLA.
Although official charges weren’t filed as of mid-December, Ethiopia’s federal police inspector, Tesfaye Olani, said because the journalists violated the state of emergency law and Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law that they could face seven to 15 years.
AP executive editor Julie Pace, called the claims baseless. “Kiyaro is an independent journalist who has done important work in Ethiopia on all sides of the conflict. We call on the Ethiopian government to release Kiyaro immediately.”
However, while publicly calling for immediate release, the KnowGood Podcast explained that Kiyaro was taken into custody on November 28, but the AP kept his detention under wraps.
As the weeks passed, the AP wasn’t getting any information about the freelancer from Ethiopian Media Authority, the prime minister’s office, the foreign ministry or other government offices. Finally, in mid-December the news organization decided to bring the matter to light.