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Ethiopia grants amnesty to key opposition figures including TPLF founding father

LEFT: Eskinder Nega, Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, Sibhat Nega


ADDIS ABABA, JANUARY 07, 2022 - Ethiopia grants amnesty to members of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) leadership Sibhat Nega, Abay Woldu, Abadi Zemu, Kidusan Nega, Mulu Gebregziabher, Kiros Hagos and key opposition figures such as Eskinder Nega, leader of the opposition Balderas for Genuine Democracy, Jawar Mohammed, member of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) and Bekele Gerba, deputy of the OFC. 

The Ministry of Justice announced this evening that the cases against Jawar Mohammed and Eskinder Nega was dropped according to Proclamation 943/2016 which sets out the duties of the attorney general. It said the case was dropped in order to ensure the effectiveness and inclusiveness of the upcoming national dialogue. 

With regards to the TPLF leadership who were pardoned, the Ministry of Justice said that the cases against them was dropped after taking into consideration their dwindling health and old age.

"The government believes that those granted amnesty will from here on wards have positive political and social contributions mending their past mistakes and compensating the people and their country. The government hopes they will follow the peaceful political path instead of the path of conflict and division. The government will not allow the old conflict driven rhetoric to be repeated. The government wants justice and mercy to follow on the journey as necessary. The government believes that there are people who are hurt in the process. The pains of these people will not only be the burden of the government and the public, it will also be the burden of those who are granted amnesty", said the statement released from the Ministry of Government Communication Services explaining the need for amnesty.

"Its purpose is to pave the way for a lasting solution to Ethiopia’s problems in a peaceful, non-violent way. Especially with the aim of making the all-inclusive national dialogue a success. It is believed that those given amnesty have learnt from the past and will hopefully make a better contribution to their country and to the people of Ethiopia", said the Ministry of Government Communication Services.

This decision also comes after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed released an Ethiopian Christmas message that emphasized forgiveness.

"After our victory we will hold four things as our principles. First, we will ensure our victories will be sustainable. Second, to ensure the sustainability of our victories, we will complete it with a political and a peaceful path. Third, we will calm the tension that the conflict has caused through the spirit of mercy while maintaining our winner mentality. Fourth, we will ensure an all inclusive, renewed and culturally relevant justice system. These four principles are mutually exclusive and do not replace one another. We will implement them as necessary.", said the Christmas message from PM Abiy Ahmed.

Eskinder Nega left the prison earlier this evening while Jawar et al left the prison premises late this evening.

Eskinder Nega, Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba were all arrested on June 30, 2020, following the riots that took place after the killing of musician Hachalu Hundesa.

The TPLF founding father Sibhat Nega, former President of Tigray region, Abay Woldu, and the others were captured last year, January 2021, after they took part in the attack against the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) Northern Command.


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