BY NEW BUSINESS ETHIOPIA REPORTER
Ethiopian government freed 23 former Derg regime high ranking officials from the death sentence imposed on them for committing genocide during the 17 years (1974-1991) civil war.
Ethiopian government freed 23 former Derg regime high ranking officials from the death sentence imposed on them for committing genocide.
According to Ethiopian President Girma Wolde Giorgis, who made the announcement to local media at the national palace this morning, all the 23 prisoners on whom court has passed death sentence have now received pardon from the government and they are sentenced to life time imprisonment.
The former Derg regime high-rank officials were in prison for the last 20 years. According to the Ethiopian law, someone who will be punished with a life sentence will not be imprisoned for more than 25 years.
Speaking at the event, “There is no half forgiveness,” said Abune Paulos, Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarch and member of the religious representatives who addressed forgiveness request of the prisoners to the government.
“In their pardon request, the prisoners urged the government to release them completely from prison so that they will spend the remaining few years of their life time with their children,” the Abune Paulos noted.
“I hope and believe that our government will fully release them from prison,” he said.
The list of top high ranking the Derg regime officials who set free from death sentence today (June 1, 2011) includes: Fikre-Silasse Wegderes, Legesse Asfaw, Melaku Teferra, Tesfaye Welde-Silasse, Gesigis Gebre Meskel and General Legesse Belayneh.
The list also includes, Abdulkadir Mohamed, Petros Gebre, Sileshi Mengesha, Colonel Nadew Zekariayas, Begashaw Atalay, Major General Woubishet Desse, Colonel Fisseha Desta, Colonel Endale Tessema and Colonel Debella Dinsa.
In addition, Argaw Yimer, Degene Wendimagegnew, Eshetu Shenkute, Gessesse Welde –Kidan, Desalegn Belay, Lisanu Molla, Abebe Eshetu and Berihun Mammo are also set free from the death sentence, according to President Girma’s statement.
Indicating that the genocide committed during the Derg regime has knocked the doors of millions of Ethiopians, including religious leaders, Sheikh Elias Redman, representing the Muslim community of the country, also urged the government to consider releasing the prisoners fully pardoning.