Ethiopia’s prime minister has announced the release all political prisoners

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Hailemariam Desalegn said a new detention centre will comply with international standards

BBC News

Ethiopia’s prime minister has announced the release all political prisoners and the closure of a notorious detention centre which allegedly used torture to extract confessions.

Hailemariam Desalegn told a press conference charges would also be dropped for those still awaiting trial.

The move is designed to allow political dialogue, he said.

Ethiopia is accused by human rights groups of using mass arrests and detention to stifle opposition.

Ethiopia PM Hailemariam Desalegn ‘open to criticism’
The country declared a state of emergency in 2016, following a year of protest calling for political and economic reforms, which prompted a crackdown.

Mr Hailemariam’s announcement included the closure of Maekelawi – a detention facility at the centre of the torture allegations, which have been denied by the government.

According to Ethiopian newspaper the Addis Standard, the prison will become a “modern museum”.

A new detention centre will be opened, Mr Hailemariam said, which would comply with international standards.

It is unclear exactly what prompted the decisions, which came after days of consultations within the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

However, the Addis Standard links it to two days of action across social media at the end of December, raising awareness of the plight of political prisoners.


  1. The Credit to Abo Lema for boldly leading the way, and it also goes to all others who decided to change their wrong course of action so that the Great People of Ethiopia live in Democracy, in Justice, and brotherhood and sisterhood. If you charted a way of governance that is anchored in justice, all Ethiopians stand with you in thick and thin of time. BE Brave. We can leave the stinking yesteryears, and venture to establish a country that we all can be proud of. God be with us. With him Everything—Everything is possible.

  2. “God has not given up on Ethiopians.

    God worked therough presdent D. Trump to force the Ethiopian government release political prisioners which it vehmently denied for years that there existed one in its prisons.

    After Pakinstan and Palestinian authorities, the Ethiopian government with empty coffers was to see U.S. mighty dollar cut, but it acted fast to avert a disaster of governemt collapse due to cut of U.S. dollar. It also rushed itself to steal the credit for the relase of the prisoners from the U.S. pretending it was not told what to do. But, the government has seen the tell tell sighns that it was coming.

    I hope the U.S. will not stop with the release of political prisoners and dialoge, but force the government to agree to a transitional government with all the opposition in and out of the country adequately represented to be followed by a free and fair election. It is comforting that God has not forgotten the people and gave us an ally – the U.S under Pres. Trump.

    It is to be recalled that the U.S. has made clear those states which voted against the U.S. in the U.N. and the Security Council on its decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will face consequences. Now it has has started to make its promise true. See what Pakistan and Palestinian authorities are facing. But the vote was a trigger of U.S. action, the violation of human and democratic rights by oppressive governments who collect millions of U.S. as aid was also an issue. The vote combined with nature of the practices of these governments which are not even “thankful” for the money they get is liberating millions from bondage.

    The Ethiopian government voted against the U.S. both at the U.N. and the Security Council on the embassy issue. But its massive violation of human and democratic rights were also points of concern for the U.S. The Israel-Palestine issue and U.S. position aside, U.S. move to force the Ethiopian government release political prisioners and engage in a dialogue is a decision led by The Divine Himself which worked through the U.S. president When it comes to the practices of previous U.S. governments, they raise problems of human and democratic rights in Ethiopia but never threathned to cut aid or loan. Now, it appears it is happening. The cut is intended to end the suffering of the Ethiopian people.

    Thank you God for the intervention and bless those who reach out to others at the moment of their suffering.

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