Friday, March 1, 2013

Ethiopia’s Tigray state pardons hundreds of prisoners

February 28, 2013 (MEKELLE, Ethiopia) - In connection with the 38th founding anniversary of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region has freed hundreds of prisoners who have been serving prison terms.
Accordingly, a total of 965 prisoners who met criteria set by the state Pardoning Board are freed. Among the released 33 were women.
Tigray police commission Commissioner, Zeamanuel Legesse, said no pardon grant was made to prisoners who committed series offenses, such as murder, rape or those convicted of corruption.
The commissioner called on the prisoners to learn from their past mistakes, to stay away from criminal activities and be productive citizens.
The freed prisoners have pledged to repay their society and to the country at large by actively taking part on different developmental endeavors.
During their prison stay, prisoners have received different technical and vocational trainings that could support them lead their normal life.
Ethiopia’s Pardon and Amnesty law - which intended to promote and strengthen the values of solidarity, forgiveness and national reconciliation - allows pardon grant to prisoners who have shown sincere regret for their crimes and those who demonstrated good disciplinary improvement at correction center.
Every year thousands of prisoners are released across the country as nation marks its own New Year celebration on September 11.
TPLF which is the major part of the leading party, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), was founded on14 September 1974 by a group of seven ethnic Tigrayan university students.
The movement began in Northern Tigray region turned into coalition of rebels and finally toppled the military Junta in 1991 after 17 years of bitter struggle for which tens of thousands of martyrs paid for with their lives to bring a democratic order.

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