Befeqadu Hailu

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Befeqadu Hailu Techanie also written as Befekadu Hailu Techane (Amharic: በፍቃዱ ኃይሉ; born 19 February 1980) is an Ethiopian writer, activist, and blogger. He is a member of the Zone 9 bloggers group that were arrested in April 2014 due to their blogging activities. Hailu is now released on bail and is defending himself before court on a downgraded charge of 'inciting violence through writing'.

His novel, Children of their Parents (2013), won third place in the 2012 Burt Award for African Literature.[1] In 2015, along with the other Zone 9 bloggers, he was awarded the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists.[2]


Hailu was born on February 19, 1980 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.[3] He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Information Systems from Zegha Business College in 2006 and worked as an MIS Expert at St. Mary's University College.[3] Since 2009, he has worked as a journalist for various publications and at one point served as Managing Editor for Enqu, a prominent Ethiopian magazine.[4][5]

Hailu also writes poetry and has published poetry compilations online.

Hailu first began blogging on his personal blog, The Q Perspective, where he wrote about socio-political issues in Ethiopia. He later became one of the founding members of Zone 9, a collective of bloggers sharing commentary about political repression and social injustice in Ethiopia.[6] Hailu is also a member of Global Voices Online, an international network of bloggers and translators.[7]


Due to his activities as part of the Zone 9 group, Hailu was arrested on April 25, 2014, and charged with terrorism.[8] Specifically, he was charged with violating Article 4 of the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation as well as various other laws.[9] The government accused Hailu of being a leader of a terrorist enterprise and inciting violence. They also accused him of collaborating with Ginbot 7, a banned political party that the government has labelled a terrorist organization.[9] At his hearing, Hailu stated that he was forced to make false confessions.[10] On 21 October 2015, Hailu was acquitted of terrorism charges and released on bail of 20,000 ETB (est. equivalent of US$1,000) to defend himself before court, to be cleared of downgraded charges of 'inciting violence through writing'.

Hailu was re-arrested on November 10, 2016, after giving an interview for Voice of America's Amharic Service about Ethiopia's state of emergency.[11] He was subsequently released in December, along with thousands of other political prisoners detained during the state of emergency.[12]


  • Children of their Parents. Addis Ababa: CODE-Ethiopia, 2013. ISBN 9789994487608. OCLC 890808411. 228 pages.



  1. ^ a b "Burt Award Inspires Young Ethiopian Authors to Keep Writing". Canadian Organization for Development through Education. 27 March 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b "CPJ International Press Freedom Awards 2015". Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Children of their Parents". Ze Habesha LLC. 5 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Detainees' Profile". Zone9ers 'Trial'. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  5. ^ Mariam, Alemayehu G. (20 July 2014). "Ethiopia in the Twilight Zone (9) of Fear". Ethiopian Review. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  6. ^ Levy, Rachael (7 July 2014). "Zone 9 blogger urges world to call for freedom in Ethiopia". Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Befeqadu Hailu". Threatened Voices: Tracking Suppression of Online Free Speech. GlobalVoices. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Ethiopia Detains Several Bloggers, a Journalist". Addis Standard. 26 April 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Full Translation of Zone9ers Charge Sheet". Zone9ers 'Trial'. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  10. ^ "The staged 'hearing' of the three bloggers Abel, Befeqadu and Mahlet concluded with another appointment for 6th time". Zone9ers 'Trial'. 29 June 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  11. ^ Endalk (15 November 2016). "Ethiopian Authorities Arrest Zone9 Blogger Befeqadu Hailu Citing 'State of Emergency'". Global Voices Advocacy. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  12. ^ Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (24 December 2016). "Ethiopia's mass release of 'detainees' excites top US officials, call for more". Africanews. Retrieved 27 May 2017.

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