Ethiopian Parliament has granted amnesty for political prisoners, many of whom have already been freed lately. The new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has taken many revolutionary reforms since he took office in April. He has also ordered the release of many detained people for crimes against the Constitution and participation in armed struggle.
There are thousands of political prisoners like individuals, groups and other many senior opposition figures. While latter had been taken to custody for inciting feelings against the ruling government, many other individuals were accused of treason and taking law into hands. Many political prisoners were freed and pardoned in January 2018 before Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coming to power under the leadership of Abiy Ahmed.
The law will be a great relief for many opposition activists and other groups which have been exiled in various countries like Eritrea, Kenya, US and even Somalia. These can now return back to Ethiopia and take part in peaceful careers. The Parliamentary approval has finally come after 2 weeks when the bill was presented to it on July 5. The entire 547-member Parliament is formed of the ruling EPRDF.
In addition to granting amnesty, another landmark ruling by the Parliament declared that Oromo Liberation Front, Ginbot 7 and Ogaden National Liberation Front are not terrorist outfits. PM Ahmed also sacked many prison officials after a Human Rights Watch report stated that there was widespread torture carried out in one of the prisons of the country.
Abiy has so far proved to be a real people’s Prime Minister. He has also reinstated diplomatic ties with Eritrea thus putting an end to the border war which had led to killings of thousands. He has stepped on many economic reforms and has extended a hand of reconciliation to many groups which had been in opposition hitherto.