Lucy Kassa has worked for various international media including Los Angeles Times, Al Jazeera and the Norwegian magazine «Bistandsaktuelt» for several years.
Since armed conflict broke out in the Tigray region in November between the Ethiopian government and the local authorities, Kassa has reported extensively on the human rights situation there.
On 8 February, 3 attackers in plain clothes entered Kassa’s home, beat her and threatened to kill her “for writing bad stories about Tigray”. Her computer and some photos were stolen by the attackers.
The attack occurred after the journalist had published a story for the Los Angeles Times about a woman who was gang-raped by Eritrean soldiers and other women being abducted in a rural village in Tigray.
Kassa claims she was attacked because of her reporting on the war in Tigray. “I was interrogated by the armed men on my relationship with the TPLF junta and I told them that I have nothing to do with the TPLF,” she told Bistandsaktuelt.
She has been criticised for being too critical of both the Abiy Government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). For her safety, “most of the articles on our website in recent weeks are presented without her byline”, the editor of the Bistandsaktuelt Gunnar Zachrisen said.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger, said: “The attack on Lucy Kassa is a cowardly and deliberate attack on freedom of expression. The only intention of the attackers is to silence Lucy, so that she will not report on the horrendous atrocities that are being committed in Tigray by both government forces and the TPLF. Journalists must be allowed to do their jobs without any form of intimidation and harassment”.
The International Federation of Journalists urges the Abiy government to provide Lucy Kassa with all the safety measures she needs to carry out her duties as a journalist.