February 28, 2013 (MEKELLE, Ethiopia) - In connection with the 38th founding anniversary of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region has freed hundreds of prisoners who have been serving prison terms.
Accordingly, a total of 965 prisoners, including 33 women, who met criteria set by the state Pardoning Board are freed.
Tigray police commissioner, Zeamanuel Legesse, said no pardon grant was made to prisoners who committed serious offenses, such as murder, rape or those convicted of corruption.
The commissioner called on the prisoners to learn from their past mistakes, to stay away from criminal activities and be productive citizens.
The freed prisoners have pledged to repay their society and the country at large by actively taking part in different developmental endeavors.
During their prison stay, prisoners have received technical and vocational training that could help them to lead a normal life.
Ethiopia’s Pardon and Amnesty Law - which intended to promote and strengthen the values of solidarity, forgiveness and national reconciliation - allows pardons to be granted to prisoners who have shown sincere regret for their crimes and those who demonstrated good discipline during their detention.
Every year thousands of prisoners are released across the country as the nation marks its own New Year celebrations on September 11.
TPLF which is the majority constituent of the ruling, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), was founded on 14 September 1974 by a group of seven ethnic Tigrayan university students.
The movement began in the Northern Tigray region turned into coalition of rebels and that finally toppled the military Junta in 1991 after 17 years of bitter struggle for which tens of thousands died.