ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
In a move most observers would recently have seen as unthinkable, Ethiopia’s government on Tuesday said it had dropped terrorism charges against Berhanu Nega, a rebel leader sentenced to death in absentia in 2009.
Nega is a political leader of Ginbot 7/Patriots Front -- a rebel coalition the government claimed were terrorists.
Nega was tried in absentia and given a death sentence in what human rights groups called trumped-up charges.
According to state media, Nega's charges have been dropped in sweeping government pardon measures aimed at bringing about national healing.
Nega lives in Eritrea -- a Horn of Africa country bordering Ethiopia -- where the rebel group operates from.
Before 2005, he was also
Before new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in April, Ethiopia saw anti-government protests in the populous regions of Oromia and Amhara demanding inclusive political representation and more just economic participation.