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Amnesty International welcomes release of political prisoners in Ethiopia

Amnesty International has hailed the release of political prisoners in Ethiopia as a move that “could signal new chapter for human rights” last week.

Fisseha Tekle, Ethiopia Researcher at Amnesty International said the announcement by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn “could signal the end of an era of bloody repression in Ethiopia”.

“For prisoners who have spent years incarcerated on politically motivated and trumped-up charges, this is long overdue,” a statement added.

Amnesty International went on to call on the Ethiopian authorities to implement the decision “as quickly as possible by immediately and unconditionally releasing them”. It also called for authorities to “repeal or substantially amend the repressive laws under which they were imprisoned, including the draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation”.

The announcement to close the Maekelawi detention centre, where reports indicate torture and human rights abuses occurred, was welcomed but the organisation added that the closure “must not be used to whitewash the horrifying events that have taken place there”.

“A new chapter for human rights will only be possible if all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment are effectively investigated and those responsible brought to justice,” it concluded.

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