(Africa News) — Activists in Ethiopia have slammed the arrest on Wednesday of a known human rights defender. Reports said lawyer Henok Aklilu was arrested and held by the police.

According to leading blogger, Befeqadu Hailu, police had searched Aklilu’s office, seized his computer before detaining him at the Sostegna police station in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Hailu described the detainee as “a human rights lawyer who defended many politically motivated charges against activists.” Award-winning journalist who was recently released from jail, Eskinder Nega, also described the arrest as a ‘bad sign,’ that a known advocate of prisoners of conscience be imprisoned.

In explaining the reason behind the arrest, blogger Atnaf Brhane, disclosed on Thursday that Aklilu was being held with another person, Mike Melake. The duo were presented before court over accusations that they had disseminated information that “Addis Ababa cannot be ruled by an outsider.”

“Mike Melake who is forming ‘Palestine Solidarity Movement’ here in Addis was accused of having a contact with Palestine Consul here in Addis,” Brhane added.

The Abiy-led government have since April been tagged an administration that had done a lot to break from the past of arbitrary arrests.

Amnesty International, AI, in September this year cautioned government against sliding back into the ear of arbitrary use of state authority. Their warning came in the wake of mass arrests in and around the capital Addis Ababa after days of ethnic-based attacks that claimed lives.

Police have said over 1000 of the detainees are to be released today or latest by Saturday whiles about 80 others are to be arraigned before the courts for complicity in violent acts.

 

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