Reformist Ethiopia PM pardons more 13, 000 political prisoners
Since Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Ahmed Abiy, took office in April he has since won over many Ethiopians by releasing jailed dissidents and welcoming home banned groups, all while promising to make elections expected in 2020 free and fair.
He has also brokered and sustained peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Ethiopian state media recently disclosed that about 13,000 people previously charged with or convicted of terrorism and/or treason, pardoned over the past six months.
Ethiopia’s Parliament in July passed a law allowing people convicted or facing charges of “treason, crime against the constitutional order and armed struggle’ to apply for pardons.
A total of 13,200 people have since been handed certificates of pardoning.
According to state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate, more than 13,200 individuals took advantage of the law in the past six months.
The previous government reported that around 30,000 people including students, opposition leaders, journalists and bloggers were in detention following widespread protests that broke out in 2015.
Media reports also suggest that in addition to the release of political prisoners, parliament in June legalised two secessionist groups – the Oromo Liberation Front and the Ogaden National Liberation Front – and the exiled opposition movement ‘Ginbot 7’, all previously considered terrorist groups.
The government is now in discussion with opposition politicians and civil society groups to make amendments to the anti-terrorism law.
Earlier this week, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Ethiopia said more aid was needed for 250,000 people displaced in the Benishangul-Gumuz and Oromia regions in western Ethiopia, where ethnic violence surged late last year.