ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) - The federal attorney general on Monday dropped charges against seven suspects, including Bekele Gerba, a prominent opposition politician, the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation reported.
The decision comes as stay-at-home protests were called by online activists all across the Oromia region, demanding the release of Bekele Gerba and others, and the protest has gone into effect as of today in several cities and towns in the region, which has been home to persistent anti-government protests for the last three years.
The other six are Gurmessa Ayana, Addisu Bulala, Dejene Tafa, Getu Garuma, Tesfaye Liben, and Beyene Ruda, according to Fana.
According to the attorney general, Getachew Ambaye, they will join the society once the decision is approved by President Mulatu Teshome.
The move is part of the decisions made by the Executive Committee of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to drop charges against and pardon politicians and individuals in order to build national consensus and widen the political space, Fana said.
Since early January this year, the government has either pardoned or dropped charges against more than 7,000 people, including those in regional states.
Last week 746 people were either pardoned or saw their charges dropped.
Eskinder Nega, a journalist, and Andualem Arage, another prominent politician, were declared pardoned last week but later their release came into question as, according to close sources, both did not sign a pardon letter, which would compel them to admit that they were members of an outlawed organization, called Ginbot 7.