Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Govt says it will release several leading TPLF members and opposition leaders of the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups.

The Ethiopian government has announced that it will forgive and release some of the country’s most high-profile political prisoners, including opposition figure Jawar Mohammed and senior officials of the Tigray party.

The announcement on Friday came after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed issued a statement calling for “national reconciliation” while Ethiopia was celebrating Orthodox Christmas.

It listed several leading members of the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front), whose forces have been embroiled in a brutal conflict with government forces in northern Ethiopia since November 2020, as well as prominent opposition leaders of the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups.

It was not immediately clear how many of those granted amnesty were still released.

It was the most dramatic step yet by the government after the country’s deadly Tigray war entered a new phase at the end of December, when Tigray forces retreated in their region amid a military offensive and Ethiopian forces said they would not progress further there.

Ethiopia’s state broadcaster, EBC, named both Jawar and Eskinder Nega, who were detained in July 2020 after deadly unrest over the murder of popular ethnic Oromo artist Hachalu Hundessa, as those who were granted amnesty.

Eskinder, leader of the Balderas party, left a detention center on Friday night.

But Tuli Bayis, a lawyer for Jawar of the Oromo Federalist Congress party and others, told The Associated Press news agency that they refused to leave the jail facility as the order for their release came late in the day.

“They have security risks, so they chose to leave the correction facility during the day,” Tuli said, adding he was not sure why the order for their release came now. “We heard it was an amnesty, that’s what we know now.”

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Justice said the amnesty for Jawar and Nega had been granted “to make the forthcoming national dialogue successful and inclusive”.

Ethiopian lawmakers approved a bill on Dec. 29 to establish a commission for national dialogue amid international pressure to end the war.

The state broadcaster also named several senior officials at Tigray’s ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front party as amnesty, saying they would be released soon.

They include Sebhat Nega, Kidusan Nega, Abay Woldu, Abadi Zemu, Mulu Gebregziabher and Kiros Hagos. They were arrested in late 2020 when government forces occupied most of the Tigray region shortly after war broke out between Tigray forces and Ethiopian forces.

The Ministry of Justice said the TPLF detainees were “granted amnesty taking into account their age and state of health”.

Friday’s announcement came a day after the United States said its outgoing special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, had met Ethiopia’s prime minister to once again insist on a negotiated end to the war.

Source link

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *