21 June, Thursday


Ethiopia announces release of rebel on death row

Politics

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The government on Saturday announced the release of death row prisoner Andargachew Tsige in an effort to cement national reconciliation launched by the country’s new Premier Abiy Ahmed.
 
Tsige used to be a prominent politician before he turned into rebel fighter. He was arrested in 2015 in Yemen and later extradited to Ethiopia where he was put in a maximum security cell.
 
In a statement, Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye said Tsige was among 756 prisoners who either received amnesty or pardon.
 
Out of the total prisoners who received amnesty, 18 are females, Tsegaye added, according to state media.
 
Tsige has British citizenship; his two daughters and his wife live in the U.K., where he is endearingly known as Andy.
 
He was a member of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party that took up arms against the previous regime called the Dergue since 1974.
 
“The move to free Andargachew Tsige is hugely significant for bringing about national reconciliation and healing,” Tigistu Awelu, chairman of Andinet (Unity) party, one of the renowned political parties in Ethiopia, told Anadolu Agency.
 
“So far, we have been given a lip service but this latest move is a real one emanating from a genuine bid to bring about healing, which our nation so desperately require,” he said.
 
“What we have been seeing until recently was a bid by government to stay in power, but this time around it appears to me a genuine one,” he said.
 
“Andargachew Tsige is now just a person, he embodies an idea that so many people follow; so the move of the government can be described as one that sought to address popular concerns,” he added.

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