Ethiopia PM plans to free politicians from prison

Source:AFP Published: 2018/1/3 23:53:39

Ethiopia's leader promised Wednesday to release "politicians" from jail and shut down a detention center where human rights groups allege torture is routine.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn made the undertaking in comments to reporters in the capital Addis Ababa, although he did not provide details.

"In order to improve the national consensus and widen the democratic platform, a decision has been made to acquit politicians of their charges and free them from prison," Hailemariam said, according to the media network Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

In the surprise announcement, Hailemariam said jailed politicians would be pardoned while those awaiting trial would have charges  dropped.

But he gave no indication of how many prisoners would be affected nor whether it would apply to the many thousands regarded as political prisoners by human rights groups and opposition activists.

Hailemariam also said the Maekelawi interrogation center - a notorious facility in operation since the brutal Derg regime of the 1970s and '80s - would be closed and turned into a museum.

It is unclear what prompted the decision nor when the release of any prisoners will take place, with information minister Negeri Lencho telling AFP, "We don't know who is going to be released. It takes time to investigate who deserves to be pardoned."

Posted in: AFRICA

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