Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Ethiopia to release opposition figures

Ethiopia to release opposition figures

Ethiopia's prime minister has announced that the country will free all of its political prisoners, pardon them and close a notorious prison.

Opposition supporters and activists accuse the Ethiopian government of using the detention center to coerce confessions from suspects usually charged under an anti-terror law. He said he made the decision to allow for political dialogue.

"Political prisoners, who are facing prosecutions and are already under arrest will be released".

The Prime Minister said charges will be dropped for all "political prisoners" who are now under prosecution and pardons will be issued to all who have already been convicted and are serving their sentences in order to create the space for a national dialogue and national consensus.

Hailemariam promised that Maekelawi will be closed and turned into a museum, and according to the Ethiopian newspaper Addis Standard a new detention center that would meet global standards will be opened.

The announcement followed soon after the 17-day-long meeting of the executive committee of the ruling party, which was triggered by the country's recent condition.

EPRDF's executive committee, which took responsibility for the problems that occurred in the country, affirmed that it is in good position to take rectifying measures.

Desalegn, who had promised the general public to reshuffle his government, had also introduced new cabinet members, of which only 9 of the ministers in the 30-member cabinet remained in their previous positions.

"This happened due to the violent protests, which witnessed one of the nation's most serious ethnic clashes between the Oromo and the Ethiopian Somali ethnic groups", the prime minister said.

Ethiopia faced in 2016 unrest that killed hundreds, dubbed by analysts the gravest challenge to the ruling coalition Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front in 25 years.

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