A cameraman for Reuters was arrested in Ethiopia on Thursday and will be held by police for at least two weeks, his family said.
Kumerra Gemechu, has worked as a freelance photographer for Reuters for a decade, the outlet reported. The police did not provide a reason for his request, and he has not been charged with any crime.
Kumerra’s detention was extended during a court hearing in Ethiopia Friday, where he was present without legal representation, his family said.
In a statement Monday, Reuters strongly condemned Kumerra’s arrest, which came only eight days after another photographer for the outlet was beaten by two Ethiopian federal police officers, the outlet said.
“Kumerra is part of a Reuters team that reports in Ethiopia from a fair, independent and unbiased way,” the statement says. “Kumerra’s work demonstrates his professionalism and impartiality, and we are aware of no basis for his detention,” said Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler.
“Journalists must be allowed to report the news in public interest without fear of harassment or harm, wherever they are. We will not rest until Kumerra is freed,” he added.
Reuters cameraman Kumerra Gemechu has been arrested in Ethiopia, and will be kept in custody for at least two weeks, his family said. He has not been charged. Here’s a statement from @Reuters Editor-in-Chief @stephenjadler on the arrest https://t.co/yPjMOnt8JA pic.twitter.com/Nf8L1gOvTN
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 28, 2020
Kumerra was taken by 10 officers Thursday night while at home with his family, his wife told Reuters, adding that police also took his phone, computer, flash drives and papers.
He had been reporting on continuing conflict in the northern part of Ethiopia, where government forces have been fighting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the country’s former ruling party, Reuters reported. (RELATED: Another Refugee Crisis Could Spark As Ethiopia Moves Toward Civil War)
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