Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

23 July 2007

Prisoners of conscience set free in Ethiopia

Prisoners of conscience set free in Ethiopia
The 38 people freed - including opposition party officials, a human rights activist and four journalists - had been detained since November 2005, following demonstrations against election results.

Most were sentenced to life imprisonment and deprivation of political rights, while others got prison terms of up to 15 years. Four days later, the group received a presidential pardon with their political rights restored.

The pardon seems to have been triggered by a letter the group submitted, acknowledging "mistakes committed both individually and collectively" in relation to the 2005 elections. Security forces killed 187 people during the demonstrations. Six police officers were killed by demonstrators.

There is hope that this important measure of political reconciliation will be a step towards a wider recognition of human rights in the country.

Amnesty International is renewing its appeal for the release of two more prisoners of conscience accused of the same offences. The trial of Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie continues this week after the pair had opted to submit a defence, unlike the 38 sentenced.

Those released include Coalition of Unity and Democracy (CUD) leaders Hailu Shawel, Ms Birtukan Mideksa, Dr Berhanu Negga and Professor Yakob Hailemariam; Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, founder of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council; and journalist Andualem Ayele.

Country

Ethiopia 

Region

Africa 

Issue

Prisoners Of Conscience 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

15 September 2014

The new United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic must be urgently brought up to full capacity to enable it to ensure the protection of a... Read more »

04 September 2014

For years Amnesty International has been investigating and recording evidence of torture in Mexico. Here're some of the most shocking facts. 

Read more »
15 September 2014

Pakistan should immediately scrap apparent plans to carry out the first civilian execution in almost six years and instead impose a moratorium on the use of the death... Read more »

15 September 2014

European leaders must do more to provide safe and legal ways for refugees and migrants to access international protection in the European Union.

Read more »
15 September 2014

European leaders must do more to provide safe and legal ways for refugees and migrants to access international protection in the European Union.

Read more »