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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