A Critical Situation – Befekadu Hailu Techanie

Befekadu Hailu Techanie smiling in front of green trees.
Photo: Isabel Verner, Civil Rights Defenders

Ethiopia is facing major challenges. Despite recent years’ positive changes to improve a critical situation for journalists and opinion makers in the country, the situation is still very uncertain.

Befekadu Hailu Techanie is a journalist and an award-winning human rights defender from Ethiopia. He is one of the founders of the blog collective Zone 9 and has spent more than a year in prison, falsely accused of terrorism. After being released he continued with his activism and journalism, including being the leader of a human rights organisation in Ethiopia.

A high price

We asked Befekadu what price he has paid for raising his voice. This is what he told us.

“The price I paid for freely expressing myself or speaking truth to power: In the past seven years, I have been jailed four times, for 596 days combined. But, this was not the most expensive price I have paid to maintain my freedom of expression. I have been harassed, intimidated, and surveilled every time and everywhere. I have lived in fear. Some friends kept a distance from me in fear of being targeted with me. I have become deprived of economic opportunities. This was all because I spoke out what was in many people’s minds.” 

Read more

Read more in our status report about the five people who have paid a high price for their freedom of expression and the situation in their countries here.

Read more about the campaign here.