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Press Group Concerned by Detention of 2 Ethiopian Journalists

A U.S.-based rights group has expressed concern about the detentions of two Ethiopian television journalists being held by the government since last week.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday that editor Haileyesus Worku and reporter Abdulsemed Mohammed, who were working for the government-run Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency, have not been formally charged since their arrests.

The men were arrested April 22 for allegedly misusing state property. A government spokesman told CPJ that that journalists had been caught "red-handed" smuggling property belonging to their workplace with the intent to sell it.

CPJ Africa Program Coordinator, Tom Rhodes, said his group is skeptical of the charges because Ethiopia has a long history of arresting journalists under politically motivated charges.

CPJ noted that in 2009, VOA reporter Meleskachew Amaha was imprisoned for three weeks for old tax charges that were later dismissed, among other similar cases.

The group says it is calling for due process and transparency in the case.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.