Expectations high as Ethiopian gov't pardons political prisoners, shuts notorious detention center

Expectations high as Ethiopian gov't pardons political prisoners, shuts notorious detention center

It's a surprising turnaround for a government that has launched a sweeping crackdown on dissent and had not previously admitted that it is even holding political prisoners.

"While plans to close the notorious Maekelawi detention centre are welcome, the closure must not be used to whitewash the horrifying events that have taken place there".

Its 547-seat parliament does not have a single opposition politician in it, and opposition groups accuse the government of constant harassment and intimidation.

But democracy activists, political opponents, protesters and others who appear to challenge the government are often imprisoned under the country's antiterrorism law or on charges of seeking to overthrow the Constitution, said Mr. Hailemariam, a former senior prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

The unrest had triggered growing friction within the party.

EPRDF's executive committee, which took responsibility for the problems that occurred in the country, affirmed that it is in good position to take rectifying measures.

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC)
VNBTrust National Association acquired a new position in shares of Bank of America during the 4th quarter worth about $201,000. The Ontario - Canada-based Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board has invested 1.02% in Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC).

The move comes in the wake of widespread anti-government protests that engulfed much of the restive Oromia and Amhara regions and other towns and cities.

Ethiopia's government has always been accused of arresting critical journalists and opposition leaders. Protests continued after the state of emergency was lifted.

Desalegn, who had promised the general public to reshuffle his government, had also introduced new cabinet members, of which only 9 of the ministers in the 30-member cabinet remained in their previous positions.

"This happened due to the violent protests, which witnessed one of the nation's most serious ethnic clashes between the Oromo and the Ethiopian Somali ethnic groups", the prime minister said.

Hailemariam's announcement Wednesday came after marathon meetings with the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition.

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