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Editor Solomon Nemera released and all charges dropped

(WiPC/IFEX) - The WiPC of International PEN welcomes the release of Solomon Nemera. The editor-in-chief of the now defunct magazine "Urji" had spent three years and eight months in detention.

According to information received by PEN, Nemera was released on 1 June 2001. In February 2000, he had been handed a one-year sentence for "inventing and publishing false information." Upon serving this, he and fellow journalists Garoma Bekele and Tesfaye Deressa were charged with "promoting terrorism by publishing OLF (Oromo Liberation Front) material." This charge was dropped on 10 May but whilst his former colleagues were freed the same day, Nemera remained in prison unable to raise the bail required as further undisclosed charges were brought against him. However, on 1 June all legal proceedings against the editor were dropped and he was released immediately.

Whilst relieved at learning of Solomon Nemera’s release, International PEN remains deeply concerned at the continuing detention of academics Professor Mesfin Woldemariam and Dr Berhanu Nega, and the charges being brought against a growing number of editors in the country solely on account of articles they have published in their respective newspapers and magazines (see IFEX alerts of 28 and 23 May 2001).

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