19th Criminal bench of Lideta set five political prisoners free earlier today, reported Negere Ethiopia – locally published newspaper.
Court ruled that Habtamu Ayalew,Daniel Shibeshi, Abraha Desta, Yeshiwas Assefa and Abraham Solomon be released from prison with immediate effect.
First defendant Zelalem Worqagegnehu is to be charged under a different section of Ethiopia’s “anti-terrorism” law after court was unable to prove the charge with evidence. For that reason, court ruled Zelalem to defend himself for acts related to recruiting members for the Ethiopian government considers to be a terrorist organization- Ginbot 7.
President Barrack Obama was clear to Ethiopian authorities during his visit to Ethiopia that Ginbot 7 is not a terrorist organization.
Sixth, eight,ninth and tenth defendants are also to continue to defend themselves according to court ruling, according to Negere Ethiopia report.
Released political prisoners were in jail for well over a year and they were subjected to severe torture during what started as rather an arbitrary imprisonment.
The court did not rule any compensation for the released political prisoners. What essentially happened is that released members were arrested for the crimes they didn’t commit and tortured, and finally the court was unable to establish evidence that they committed the crime.
There are still numerous political prisoners in Ethiopia. A report issued by Human Rights Council of Ethiopia indicate during the May 2015 election alone, well over 80 Ethiopians are thrown to prison in relation to their political participation within the legally registered parties in Ethiopia.
Estimation of political prisoners in Ethiopia is hundreds of thousands. Of the political prisoners some were journalists and bloggers.
Judicial arm of the Ethiopian government is criticized by Ethiopians for being a tool for repression. The question what will be the fate the rest of political prisoners in Ethiopia,of whom some are already sentenced to years and years behind bar, is not known. But the executives in the ruling TPLF/EPRDF are certainly more powerful than the court and they are the one who decide the fate of citizens – apparently.