Friday, July 20, 2007

Milllennial Opportunities: Ethiopia gives complete pardon to its prisoners.

Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity-;

Dear Patriotic Global Citizens and Friends of Ethiopia:

Re: Ethiopia Grants Comprehensive Pardon

This is good news indeed. Now, it is time for reflections and lessons learned and strategies to make a better future.

The modern legal system has worked. The traditional "Senior Elder's Council" has worked and most importantly "international lobbying" is going to be a fixture in Ethiopia's internal affairs and hope it is for the better.

Please read on the good news and hope that other prisoners will be released and Ethiopia's Prison will be converted in to Cultural and Technological Enterprises. The new Millennium demands that we move back to our culture of good governance where even those who have transgresed the law will be given opportunity to pay to the community and rehabilitate back to their respective communities.

The traditional Ethiopian prisons were called rehabilitation centers, i.e "Ye-tebai maremia" and not jails. Perhaps we need to create mechanisms for rehabiltating social and legal offenders such that we have a society that is moving towards building a lasting enterprising community at peace with itself and with its neighbors within a win-win partnership for peace and prosperity.

It is time to create a new future and let bygones be bygones for a better future.

Please read on this exciting news and share with us your reflections.

Ethiopia releases protest leaders

The group had reportedly confessed and asked for a pardon Thirty Ethiopian opposition leaders have been pardoned and freed from prison just days after being given life sentences over election protests.

Three minibuses have reportedly left the prison while the group's supporters whistled and shouted for joy outside.

The group always said the trial was political and refused to enter a plea, leading to the men's conviction.

Ethiopia came under strong international pressure over the trial, and some donors cut aid.

But Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi denied that he was following US orders to free the 30 Coalition for Unity and Democracy leaders and six others convicted over the protests.

In court:
Life in jail: 30 opposition leaders
15-18 years: 6 young men for rioting
1-3 years: 2 journalists
In absentia:
Life in jail: 5

Democracy on trial

"The Ethiopian government isn't willing and is unable to be run like a banana republic from Capitol Hill. Some individuals appear to be entertaining such illusions," he said.

He also said that some of the international pressure had been "shameful".

Among the 30 are CUD leader Hailu Shawel, the mayor-elect of the Addis Ababa Berhanu Nega and several other MPs and councillors from the capital.

Five others were convicted in absentia.

'Orange revolution'

Mr Meles also said their rights to vote and contest elections would be restored.

But he said the MPs had boycotted parliament for two years and so may be unable to reclaim their seats now.

Most of those who died were protesters
The prime minister said the pardon showed the government had "no sense of revenge".

"We believe that the sorry saga of the orange revolution is fully behind us," Mr Meles said.

The government had said the 30 had confessed to their crimes and had asked for a pardon.

The head of the European Union 2005 election observers in Ethiopia had condemned the life sentences as "farcical" and "inhumane".

After the state prosecutor called for the death penalty, the US urged the government to "promote reconciliation" in the final sentence.

The government always said it could not interfere in the case until the legal process had finished.

Some 193 people died after thousands of people protested against the election results.

Most of those were protesters, killed by the security forces.

Tens of thousands of people were arrested.

The government denied charges of ballot-rigging and points out that it introduced multi-party elections to Ethiopia

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