africa

Ethiopia drops charges against rebel leader

Charges against Berhanu Nega dropped in sweeping government pardon aimed at bringing about national healing

  | 29.05.2018
Ethiopia drops charges against rebel leader

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 leader of a Ethiopian opposition political party called Kinijit.

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.


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