FREELANCE cameraman Kumerra Gemechu, who has worked for Reuters for a decade, has been arrested in Ethiopia, although not charged with any crime.
The 38-year-old, who had his flash drives and papers taken by 10 officers on Christmas Eve, is expected to stay in custody for at least two weeks, according to his family, and his detention comes after the beating of a Reuters photographer, Tiksa Negeri, by two Ethiopian federal police officers on December 16.
The family said that at a brief court hearing on Friday, where no lawyer was present, a judge ordered Kumerra’s detention for a further 14 days to give police time to investigate.
Reuter’s Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler said in the statement on Monday, December 28, “Kumerra is part of a Reuters team that reports from Ethiopia in a fair, independent and unbiased way. Kumerra’s work demonstrates his professionalism and impartiality, and we are aware of no basis for his detention.
“Journalists must be allowed to report the news in the public interest without fear of harassment or harm, wherever they are. We will not rest until Kumerra is freed,” Adler said.
— PR Team at Reuters (@ReutersPR) December 28, 2020
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