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Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn stated that steps will be taken to release some political prisoners. He made the statement on Wednesday, January 3 during a press conference.
The official Twitter handle of the Prime Minister’s Office, declared that the political prisoners would be freed for the sake of the political stability. It indicated that Merara Gudina (PhD) and Bekele Gerba head and vice head of the Oromo Federalist Congress Party and other popular political leaders and activists would be released. Andualem Aragie and Yonathan Tesfaye are also expected to be included on the list.
The Prime Minister stated that steps will be taken according to the pardon law and in accordance with the Ethiopian constitution.
Since the ruling party announced it won all the seats of the parliament in 2015 a wide range of political instability occurred in the country, particularly in the Oromia and Amhara regions, the major ethic groups in the country.
The political instability pressed the government to pass several measures including a state of emergency and Internet blackout for months in the past year.
EPRDF also stated that the so called Maekelawi detention center the notorious prison located around Menelik square that has been used to detain and torture prisoners , will be closed and be transformed into a public museum. Maekelawi has been a notorious detention center for governments since the Derg era.
Some reports show that there are an estimated 1,000 prisoners that are held on charges including terrorism. The list includes journalists, bloggers, political party members and activists.
A specific time line for the release of some prisoners, as stated by the Prime Minister, is yet to be known.