Release of Prisoners Has Significant Contribution to Inclusive National Dialogue, Says Justice Minister

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The decision of the government to release some prisoners was made by taking into consideration the inclusiveness of the national dialogue as well as humanity and compassion, according to Ministry of Justice.

In an exclusive interview with ENA today, Justice Minister Gedion Timothewos said humanity and the need for ensuring the inclusiveness of the national dialogue were taken into account in releasing the prisoners yesterday.

He explained that amnesty is different from pardon in that amnesty is extended to persons who are subject to prosecution but not yet convicted, whereas a pardon is granted to a person who has already been convicted.

Persons are pardoned by the Board of Pardons and granted by the president as per the law.  

Accordingly, the release of prisoners by the government yesterday is neither pardon nor amnesty, but termination of proceedings, the minister added.

The termination of proceedings was effected on three case files, two of them under Jawar Mohammed and Eskinder Nega.

The decision to drop the charges in both files was made ahead of the national dialogue in order to make it more inclusive and participatory since the two individuals are political party leaders with many followers, he stated.

The minster stressed that national dialogue is conducted once over many years and such an inclusive dialogue has never taken place in Ethiopia.

Humanity and compassion were taken into account in the release of some six individuals under the third case file of the terrorist TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael.

The released prisoners have health problems and are old. The legal proceedings of the remaining prisoners will continue as they gave military and political orders, according to the minster. The released prisoners were not also members of the executive committee of TPLF.

The justice minister further explained the need for applying transitional reform framework in the objective reality of Ethiopia instead of the regular justice system.

Gedion noted that resolving the national crises, which  are being reflected by the community and no more by the political elite alone, from passing to the coming generation it is crucial to hold dialogue rather than sticking to vindictive justice. 

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