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Student arrested for facebook post

A student at Addis Ababa University’s Information Technology Department is being detained by the country’s security services for his Facebook activity. Manyazewal Eshetu has been arrested and charged with criminal defamation after he posted on his Facebook page criticizing the “rampant” corruption at Arba Minch University, according to a report from the Amharic service of Deutsche Welle. The 21-year-old student was picked up from his home in Addis Ababa last Thursday and taken to a prison in Arba Minch town. Though the Facebook posting had been taken down, police said the student made a defamatory statement, attacking individuals such as the university president.
Manyazewal’s guardian told DW his effort to find a way to free the student hasn’t succeeded. The guardian spoke highly of the student who he said has a good school record, participates in different extracurricular activities, and contributes articles for school publications. The guardian added Manyazewal was recently awarded a prize for his outstanding contribution in Ethiopian university student’s sports competition held in Arba Minch town.
Though a number of journalists and opposition figures have been charged with defamation in recent years for voicing their opinions in Ethiopia’s nascent liberal press, this is one of the rare cases in which someone is being targeted for a post on the social network.

  1. b.
    April 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Reblogged this on Betyie und kommentierte:
    Wieder einmal: Die Meinungs- und Informationsfreiheit in Äthiopien wird beschnitten

  2. Paulos Kebede
    April 4, 2013 at 9:39 am

    This is frightening. A student vented his anger on facebook and the police come knocking. Isn’t this country supposed to be a freewheeling democracy, where citizens could voice their opinions? Haven’t they told us that is what Meles sacrificed his life for?

  3. Gada, G.
    April 5, 2013 at 8:16 am

    In Ethiopia, it seems freedom is only for EPRDF members and Cos. If you are jailed for what you utter in social media but not for what you do, there will be no reason why we would not be one day sanctioned from breathing fresh air freely. Adieu Ehadig!

  4. Alem
    April 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Ethiopia can only afford one brilliant citizen at a time. Mr. Meles Zenawi was one but he died. Why would Manyazewal not replace him? Why the fear, why the terror?

  5. Selam
    April 6, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Facebook post are meant for friends! It is unbelievable that it was made into a court case. This case goes against universal human rights and laws, is saddening not only when judged on its own merit but also for Ethiopia’s image.

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