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Citizens for Justice and Peace

Ethiopia to release all political prisoners

04, Jan 2018 | CJP Team

The Guardian reported that Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has said that “political prisoners that are facing prosecutions and are already under arrest will be released,” adding that “the notorious prison cell that was traditionally called Maekelawi will be closed down and turned into a museum.” This is an attempt to “widen the democratic space for all,” Desalegn said, according to the Guardian. The Guardian said anti-government protests spread in most of the country’s Oromia and Amhara regions, disrupting the functioning of businesses, universities, and transportation. The protests also extended to other parts of Ethiopia, resulting in a state of emergency being imposed for several months; it ended in August 2017, according to Human Rights Watch. The Guardian said opposition and rights groups have been pushing for the release of political prisoners, saying they were detained on fabricated charges and were penalised for their views. According to the Guardian, it has been alleged that the Ethiopian government has arrested opposition leaders and reporters critical of it. The Guardian said that the protests saw several hundred reported deaths and several thousand arrests, noting that, according to Amnesty International, “The crackdown on the political opposition saw mass arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment, unfair trials and violations of the rights to freedom of expression and association”. 

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