Ethiopia frees opposition leader Eskinder Nega

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The journalist, blogger and founder of The Balderas for Genuine Democracy party was pardoned and released on Friday. Eskinder Nega had been detained for over a year in a maximum-security prison in the capital Addis Ababa.

The release of Eskinder Nega was announced on Friday on the Facebook page of his political party, The Balderas for Genuine Democracy. There, a picture showed the 52-year-old man posing with fist-pumps outside the Kality prison with a colleague with whom he was detained. He had been imprisoned for over a year in a the maximum-security prison in Addis Ababa.

The former blogger is one of several leading opposition figures who were jailed back in July 2020 after deadly protests in the capital and the surrounding Oromia region followed the murder of popular Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa. His vocal activism had already earned him some time in prison.

Other prominent figures, including Jawar Mohammed, the media mogul turned opposition politician from the Oromo Federalist Congress were also pardoned. The news came a day after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed issued a Christmas statement calling for "national reconciliation".

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