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Ethiopia grants amnesty to hundreds of prisoners

[JURIST] Ethiopian President Girma Woldegiorgis [official profile] granted amnesty to 263 prisoners on Tuesday, including full clemency for 237, reduced sentences for 15 and commuting of the death penalty for 11. President Woldegiorgis described the unprecedented amnesty as motivated by the inmates' good behavior and repentance. Ethiopia arrested thousands of protestors [JURIST report] after 2005 elections that were perceived to be fraudulent, charging over 100 journalists, lawmakers and human rights activists with treason [JURIST report]. It is unclear whether the reprieves applied to any of these detainees, but officials announced that people convicted of rape and corruption were not among those who received clemency.

Ethiopia's human rights record has been criticized [JURIST report] in past months by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile, JURIST news archive] and the African Union [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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