French journalist Antoine Galindo leaves Ethiopia after release

Fri, Mar 1, 2024
By editor


THE Committee to Protect Journalists welcomed the Thursday release of French journalist Antoine Galindo, who was arrested in Ethiopia on February 22, and urged Ethiopian authorities to unconditionally release all other members of the press detained for their work.

“It is great news that Antoine Galindo has been released, as his unjust detention was a stark reminder of the dangers of practicing journalism in today’s Ethiopia,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Muthoki Mumo. “Ethiopian authorities must now release all journalists—eight others at least—who have suffered months of imprisonment under very difficult conditions, and provide guarantees that international journalists will be allowed the access they need to report and will not face retaliation for doing their jobs.”

Ethiopian authorities released Galindo, who reports for the Paris-based privately owned news website Africa Intelligence, on February 29, and he subsequently left the country to return to France, the publisher of Africa Intelligence, Quentin Botbol, told CPJ via messaging app. Further details about his release were not immediately available.

“We thank all the people and organizations who worked towards Galindo’s release,” Botbol said. “We hope that all the other Ethiopian journalists that are being detained in the country can be freed and continue to do their job.”

Security forces arrested Galindo while he interviewed Bate Urgessa, a political officer with the opposition party Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), on February 22 in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. 

On February 24, a court in Addis Ababa ordered that Galindo and Bate be detained until their next court appearance on March 1, so police could investigate allegations of armed conspiracy. 

During a February 28 press briefing, a government spokesperson said Galindo was detained for “overstepping” his accreditation as the journalist was only authorized to cover the summit of the African Union, headquartered in Ethiopia, and not domestic Ethiopian politics, according to news reports.   

Galindo’s publisher sent a January 25 letter to the Ethiopia Media Authority and Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting accreditation for 14 days, stating that Galindo would spend a week on the summit meeting, which ended on February 18, and the following week with “politicians and diplomats on topics related to the African Union summit and to Ethiopian affairs,” according to CPJ’s review of the letter. 

Galindo was approved for a two-week stay, according to CPJ’s review of the journalist’s on-arrival request form.   

With eight journalists behind bars, Ethiopia was the second-worst jailer of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa, according to CPJ’s 2023 annual Prison Census. These journalists, half of whom were arrested following the declaration of a state of emergency in August 2023, remain behind bars.

1st March, 2024.