Ten thousand prisoners have been pardoned in the restive Oromia region of Ethiopia, the state broadcaster EBC reported on Wednesday evening. The pardon came amid a State of Emergency in the country that has led to the arrest of several thousands of others across the nation.
“The Oromia region’s President has pardoned prisoners that have chronic illness, are old and have family and children,” the broadcaster said adding that the latest pardon doesn’t include that are sentenced for rape, human trafficking and corruption.
On 21 October, Ethiopia pardoned other 9,800 suspects that were nabbed under the country's State of Emergency. Authorities said at the time that another 1,449 will be held and charges will be filed against them for their roles during the violent protests across the Oromia and Amhara regions at the beginning of October.
“We welcome the release of the prisoners,” Mualtu Gemechu of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress told the Associated Press and DireTube reporter Elias Meseret. “But at the same time people are being detained en masse across Oromia. The arrests have become so severe that prison facilities are now at full capacity so people are being held at private residences and government facilities.”
Mulatu said his rough estimates are some 60,000 to 70,000 people were detained in recent months across the Oromia region. But he said almost all his party’s offices in the region are now closed by authorities so they couldn’t compile the right figures.
The Ethiopian government is announcing that it has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to create jobs for the youth across the country. Thousands of public servants have also been dismissed and hundreds of others were detained in the past few weeks for maladministration and corruption.