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

28 January 2015

New evidence shows that the Nigerian military were repeatedly warned of impending Boko Haram attacks on Baga and Monguno which claimed hundreds of lives, and failed to... Read more »

22 January 2015

The Attorney General of Mexico has failed to properly investigate all lines of inquiry into allegations of complicity by armed forces and others in authority in the... Read more »

26 January 2015

Tucked in a dark corner of a secret detention centre in The Philippines was a mock-up of the multicolour wheel used in the "Wheel of Fortune". But rather than spinning for... Read more »

20 January 2015

European governments that cooperated with the CIA’s secret detention, interrogation, and torture operations as part of the USA’s global “war on terror” must act urgently... Read more »

29 January 2015

Further floggings of Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi could cause debilitating long-term physical and mental damage, a medical expert from the charity Freedom from Torture has... Read more »