Home | News    Wednesday 29 March 2017

Over 20,000 jailed under Ethiopia’s state decree released

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

March 28, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopia has released most of the suspects who had been in custody under the state emergency decree, members of the decree’s inquiry board told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

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Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia on October 2, 2016 (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri Photo)

The state decree inquiry board said a total of 20,659 citizens jailed since the imposition of the decree have so far been freed after receiving renewal training, including on the constitution, rule of law and color revolution, among others.

According to the board, 475 of the total detainees were freed on advice. The remaining nearly 5,000 suspects, however, will remain in custody to face justice.

A total of 26,130 suspects were arrested since Ethiopia declared the state emergency decree in October in response to the wide spread protests and unrest in Amhara and Oromiya regions.

The state emergency, the country’s first in quarter a century, was imposed to arrest violent anti-government protests and to restore what Addis Ababa says is a growing security situation in the two troubled regions.

The state emergency inquiry board which is mandated to inspect the code of conduct of the decree on Tuesday presented its report to the parliament over command post’s conduct towards set of emergency directives.

The command post was in charge of enforcing the state decree.

At the performance hearing today, the inquiry board head, Tadesse Hordofa, said command post’s activities in rights protection, investigation procedures and in timely release of jailed suspects were effective.

"Protection of women mainly those breast feeding as well as elderly suspects and extending immediate response to their cases were areas the command post showed strength,” Tadesse told lawmakers.

The inquiry board commended the command post for its involvement in mobilizing the public in rebuilding damaged private and public properties.

The report revealed public approval of the decree in restoring calm and stability and further acknowledged the demands of the public in extending duration of the state emergency which is due to end in few weeks period.

Established shortly after imposition of the state emergency, the seven-members inquiry board comprising four MPs and three legal experts from the federal high court is also responsible to monitor nothing inhuman act is being committed against citizens during the emergency period or if any it will report to the premier’s office or to council of ministers.

Since the decree was imposed more than five months ago, the Ethiopian government recently lifted many of the restrictions.

Days ago, Addis Ababa also lifted more restrictions for the second time. Accordingly the command post led under Ethiopia defense minister has lifted the command post’s power to arbitrary arrest people or search individuals’ houses.

Furthermore, curfews and other restrictions on media and social media activism have also been lifted.

(ST)

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