[dehai-news] (APA) Ethiopia revokes jail pardon granted to opposition leader


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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Tue Dec 30 2008 - 09:16:30 EST


2008-12-30
Ethiopia revokes jail pardon granted to opposition leader

APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) The Ethiopian government on Monday evening
revoked the life imprison sentence that was imposed on one of the country's
main opposition leaders.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Justice said that the decision to revoke the life
imprisonment on Birtukan Mideksa, leader of the Unity for Democracy and
Justice(UDJ-Andinet party was made after she was found guilty of denying her
the request for pardon that she and the other opposition leaders made to the
government, which led to her release a year ago.

The announcement was made after the Ethiopian federal police arrested
Birtukan after three days of ultimatum to deny or admit her statement, which
she allegedly made to the media while she was abroad last month. She was
arrested after refusing to acknowledge that she had requested a pardon that
led to her release from jail in July 2007, according to the Ethiopian
Ministry of Justice.

Accordingly, Birtukan will now return to jail for the remaining of her life
sentence, after she refused to take part in the up coming elections in the
country, scheduled to be held in 2010.

Birtukan was released together with 40 opposition leaders with full pardon
by the government a year after her arrest during the country's disputed 2005
elections.

She and dozens of other opposition leaders were initially jailed following
the 2005 elections and sentenced to life in prison following a May 2007
trial on treason charges.

Her release along with 40 others in July of 2007 came after the opposition
leaders signed a letter admitting "mistakes committed both individually and
collectively."

Birtukan and the other opposition leaders were released in two pardons
authorized by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in July and August
of 2007 after mediation by Ethiopian elders.

Birtukan, a lawyer and former judge, was arrested while she was a senior
member of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) party. After her
release, she formed her new party- Unity for Democracy and Justice
(UDJ-Andinet).

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