Ethiopia pardons 13,000 accused of treason, terrorism

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Ethiopia has pardoned more than 13,000 people accused of treason or terrorism over the past six months, according to state-affiliated media.

The East African nation’s anti-terror laws have been widely criticised by rights groups, accusing the former government of using them to criminalise political dissent. However, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed introduced a six-month amnesty for those held under the laws shortly after coming into power in April.

More than 13,000 released

Under former prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s previous government said 30,000 people were being detained on charges or convictions of treason or terrorism, following widespread anti-government protests that broke out in 2015.

These included students, journalists, bloggers and opposition leaders engaged in demonstrations or criticism of the regime.

Anti-government dissent became so strong that Desalegn declared two separate states of emergency and ultimately resigned, which paved the way for Abiy Ahmed to become Ethiopia’s next prime minister. Since stepping into office, the PM has worked to ease political tensions and a total of 13,200 people charged with or convicted of treason or terrorism charges have since been pardoned, according to Fana Broadcasting Corporation.

Featured image: By Odaw – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66598891

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.