SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: October 01, 2016

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Ambo University

Region & Country:Eastern Africa | Ethiopia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 1, 2016, authorities reportedly detained Seyoum Teshome, a scholar of management at Ambo University and a blogger who has written critically of the Ethiopian government – in particular its responses to recent, ongoing  protests around Addis Ababa.

According to reports, on October 1, 2016 authorities arrived at Teshome’s home in the city of Woliso, searched the premises, confiscated Toshome’s computer, and arrested him. As of this report, the charges against Teshome, if any, are unknown.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arrest and detention of a professor, apparently as a result of nonviolent expressive activity, conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Ethiopia is party. State officials have a responsibility not to interfere with the right to free expression, so long as it is exercised peacefully and responsibly, and to comply with internationally recognized standards of due process and fair trial. Detentions and related actions aimed at limiting free expression undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.


On December 22, 2016, Teshome was reportedly released from detention.


On March 8, 2018, during the visit of United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Addis Ababa, security forces reportedly went to Teshome’s home in the city of Woliso, took him into custody, and have detained him at an unknown location.  (See report).