Ethiopia to release all political prisoners

Ethiopia to release all political prisoners

The amnesty includes all previously sentenced politicians and other individuals.

The Horn of Africa country has been wrecked by violence for nearly three years, with protests first breaking out in its Oromiya province over of land grab allegations.

The Ethiopian government's announcement came amid a widespread protest which continued since the first half of 2016, prompting the East African country to undergo a 10-month state of emergency that ended in August 2017.

Rallies over land rights then broadened into demonstrations over political restrictions and perceived rights abuses, including the incarceration of Merera Gudina and Bekele Gerba - leaders of the opposition group the Oromo Federalist Congress.

He said a decision has also been made to alter the "Maekelawi" detention center into a national museum.

"A new chapter for human rights will only be possible if all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment are effectively investigated and those responsible brought to justice". Dozens of people were killed in several bouts of violence between ethnic Oromos and Somalis in the Oromiya region past year.

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Present during the address were members of the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front.

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. It denies the charge.

Activists and rights groups welcome the move but remain skeptical about whether the government will go through with it.

"It was absolutely not clear what the prime minister was saying", said Yacob Hailemariam, a lawyer in Addis Ababa, the capital.

Tekle says that for years, the Maekelawi detention center "essentially functioned as a torture chamber, used by the Ethiopian authorities to brutally interrogate anybody who dares to dissent including peaceful protestors, journalists and opposition figures".

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