Friday, 23 February, 2018


Hopes raised for release of British human rights activist jailed in Ethiopia

AFP  File  William Davison Oromia is Ethiopia's largest region and the anti-government protests began in November 2015 Hopes raised for release of British human rights activist jailed in Ethiopia
Bennie Garza | 13 January, 2018, 00:39

Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn confirmed the move on Wednesday, saying it was an effort to "widen the democratic space for all".

Hailemariam promised that Maekelawi will be closed and turned into a museum, and according to the Ethiopian newspaper Addis Standard a new detention center that would meet global standards will be opened.

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.

"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", rights group Amnesty International has said.

"While plans to close the notorious Maekelawi detention centre are welcome, the closure must not be used to whitewash the horrifying events that have taken place there".

"Political prisoners that are facing prosecutions and are already under arrest will be released", Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said at a press conference, according to The Associated Press.

Ethiopia's opposition and human rights groups have been accusing the government of violating human rights.

Some of the prominent politicians now in custody include opposition leaders Bekele Gerba and Merara Gudina, and several journalists also remain in detention. A number of journalists also remain in detention.

An independent task force has also been set up to investigate human rights abuses and the handling of prisoners.

In what appears to be a concrete answer to the preoccupations of the public, the Ethiopian government had been undertaking various measures over the past two and half years, which include a large scale anti-corruption investigation and arrest of government officials.

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