03 January 2018: The nominal Prime Minister of Ethiopia has today declared that “all political prisoners in Ethiopia will be released”. This is what the foreign media reported. However, the PM did not say that.
What the PM said was that all those prisoners with a case “being handled by the Attorney General’s office” could be released. In other words, while the regime that had denied since 1991 that it even had one political prisoner has finally admitted that it does have political prisoners (actually above 45,000 in number) the majority of political prisoners have never been brought before a court of law, not even been accused and were railroaded . The regime has used dubious and repressive and so called anti terror laws to repress dissenters, journalists and sentence them to years of imprisonment. They are not considered as political prisoners and will not be eligible for release.
Thousands of prisoners in Zwai, Dedesa. Bir Sheleko,kilinto, etc and various secret prisons have never been formally accused and are not eligible for the so called release. Te regime is in a chaotic situation and being accused of gross violation of right for the past two years. Its allies and backers are pressurizing it to at least make believe of a dialogue going between it and some lame opposition groups. The declaration of releasing political prisoners is a ruse as most of them have no case pending with the courts in a country where due process and the rule of law have been trampled upon for close to 27 years.
The regime should cease its duplicity and cheap maneuvers to dupe international public opinion. It should release ALL political prisoners and account for all the disappeared. There is no middle way.
Release ALL political prisoners in Ethiopia now and without conditions!!