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Freed Ethiopian journalist risks it all to speak out


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Three Ethiopian journalists were released from prison three weeks ago, ahead of President Obama’s visit to the African nation. They are just some of victims who dared to criticize their government and went to prison for it.

Now, the three are speaking about that repression and one is willing to risk everything to have her voice heard, reports CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett.

Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu, who was freed from prison by the government days before President Obama's visit to the country
Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu, who was freed from prison by the government days before President Obama’s visit to the country, is seen in an undated file photo.

“I was in prison for four years and 17 days,” Reeyot Alemu said.

“For one year, two months and 14 days,” Zelalem Kibret said.

“One year, two months and 15 days,” Edom Kassaye said.

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Ethiopian Journalists Edom Kassaye and Zelalem Kibret were both released from prison just prior to President Obama’s arrival in the country.
CBS

The three journalists were charged with terrorism, but the allegations were mysteriously dropped just before Mr. Obama’s visit.

Kassaye and Kibret are now afraid to return to journalism, but Alemu is not.

“There are only two choices. I must not write about this government or I must write it and to be arrested or to be killed. I don’t know,” she said. “Even this interview. I don’t know what they will do about because of this interview.”

Alemu was beaten in jail and feels guilty that four fellow journalists remain behind bars.

“What can I do? Just to be silent, or contribute something, and I choose to contribute something and I’m willing to pay the price. This is my decision,” she said.

In their private meeting, Mr. Obama told Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn that jailing journalists not only ‎violates humans rights, it will discourage what Desalegn wants most: foreign investment.

For Alemu, the choice is simpler.

“Ethiopia must be changed. I must do something,” she said.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/jailed-ethiopian-journalists-speak-out-government-repression-during-obama-visit/

Posted by: Kumilachew Gebremeskel Ambo

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