Ethiopia to free nearly 10,000 people held under state of emergency, free our Zelalem and others too

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Ethiopia on Saturday announced plans to release 9,800 detainees from a total of about 12,500 who were held under the country’s 10-week state of emergency.

“9,800 inmates will be released on Wednesday and another 2,449 will be charged for their roles in destabilizing the country,” Defence Minister Siraj Fegessa said on state television.

“The inmates that will be released have been well reformed and have expressed remorse,” he added.

The state of emergency was declared on October 7 following repeated flare-ups of rioting in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, which includes the capital, Addis Ababa, and where the Oromo ethnic group feels excluded from political and economic power.

Local reports suggest that many areas hard-hit by violence in October have now calmed down.

Ethiopia blocked internet access after the state of emergency was declared, but services have now partly resumed.