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Student arrested for facebook post

April 3, 2013 5 comments

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.