Ethiopia drops charges against rebel leader

Charges against Berhanu Nega dropped in sweeping government pardon aimed at bringing about national healing
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.–AA

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