Fitih le Ethiopia

I wish democracy and unity for Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Police deny treatment for award-winning journalist sick in prison By Betre Yacob January 1, 2014

ADDIS ABABA – An award-winning Ethiopian journalist sentenced to 14 years in prison was denied treatment despite a health condition doctors described as “severe.”

Woubshet Taye, a recepient of the 2013 CNN Multichoice African Journalist Award, was suffering from a severe form of kidney problem (renal calculus) that the doctors recommended an immediate medical treatment and follow-up.

Woubshet, who was deputy editor of the now-closedAwramba Times, was “detained in June 2011and held incommunicado before being convicted on terrorism charges and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment in January 2012,” according to a CPJ report. He is among a number of journalists who have been prosecuted under the anti-terrorism law in Ethiopia.

“I feel severe pain mostly in the area between my ribs and hip, depriving me of sleep. My condition is getting worse every day,” Woubshet said, wondering why they were not giving him even anti-pain drugs.

In April 2013, Woubshet was taken to Ziway Prison, about 80 miles south of Addis Ababa, and his wife, Berhane Tesfaye, said despite the distance, she was visiting her husband every two weeks. When his condition got worse, Woubshet was brought back to Kaliti Prison on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital.

“The international community should understand what is going on against him and exert pressure on the government to be responsible and allow him adequate medical treatment” his wife told journalists. Woubshet has a 3-year-old boy and very old parents who have economically been dependent on him.


“Brutal Bribe Seekers”

A Woubshet letter smuggled out of prison and published on EthioMihdar last week noted that corruption among Kaliti Prison guards was so rife that poor inmates had no chance of seeing doctors even if they were severely ill like him.

Prominent Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu as well as others remain behind bars serving long term sentences on trumped-up “terrorism” charges.

International calls for the release of journalists have fallen on deaf ears.

With seven journalists in prison, Ethiopia is the 2nd top jailer of journalists after Eritrea, which has 22, according to a 2013 CPJ census report.

(Reporting by Betre Yacob and editing by Abraha Belai)

posted by Tseday Getachew


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