U.S. tasks Ethiopia to follow through with political reforms

The United States has officially commented on political happenings in Ethiopia where the government has announced the release of politician prisoners and to also close a prison facility notorius for torture.

The U.S. Statement of January 16, 2016 comes close to two weeks after the leadership of the ruling Ethiopia People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) agreed to undertake measures to open up Ethiopia’s political space.

“We are encouraged by the Ethiopian Government’s decision to drop charges and pardon detainees, including political prisoners, as a tangible step towards its stated goal of widening political space for all Ethiopians.

“We are aware that reviews of additional cases are underway, and hope they will be conducted in the same spirit.

“We understand these efforts as part of the government’s decision to accelerate democratic progress, and stand ready to work with all Ethiopians who share the goal of ensuring that all citizens are empowered to build a brighter future for their country,” the statement concluded.

In a January 3, 2018 press conference by heads of the EPRDF coalition, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the move to open up the political space was to also engender national reconciliation.

The Maekelawi prison facility in Addis Ababa was to be shut down and replaced with one that met international standards. The prison will be turned into a modern museum, the Prime Minister further disclosed.

The government on Monday announced that over 500 prisoners were set to be released. A multiple criminal charge case against a leading opposition voice Merera Gudina was also dropped and he is said to be among those who will be released.
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