Ethiopia freed jailed opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa

birtukan mideksa
October 6, 2010

She was sent back to prison in December 2008 after claiming she had never asked to be pardoned.

“She is released now. She is back home,” government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said. Birtukan had submitted a pardon plea last month and had been pardoned by Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Giorgis, Shimeles said.

The justice ministry said Birtukan regretted having denied she was granted pardon in 2007.

“I express my deep regret for deceiving the Ethiopian people and government by denying my release on pardon,” the ministry quoted her as saying in a statement.

“Pledging not to ever resolve to these fraudulent and deceptive acts, I beg the Ethiopian people and government to grant me pardon.

“In her remorseful petition, Birtukan Mideksa implored the prime minister to grant her a second pardon for her to be able to see her ageing mother and child,” it added.

The UDJ deputy chief Negasso Gidada said their party leader had arrived at her home after her release from Kaliti prison.

“We are very happy she is being freed,” Negasso told AFP. Witnesses also said she had reunited with her family.

“Arriving at her house, she thanked her neighbours, relatives and family for all the support they gave her throughout her ordeal,” said one witness.

Sources said the decision to free Birtukan was negotiated by a committee of wise men.

Ethiopia has been repeatedly criticised for stifling basic freedoms, a charge the government has denied.

This year’s election in May, in which Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s ruling coalition won nearly all the parliamentary seats, was slammed by observers as not being free

Opposition groups rejected the results, but their bid to have a re-vote was rejected by the electoral panel.

Human Rights Watch said the Ethiopian regime had been gradually clamping down on political freedom since the violent aftermath of the 2005 elections.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International said it considered Birtukan a “prisoner of conscience,”

“She was imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression and association. We are delighted that she has been able to go home to her family,” said Michelle Kagari, the group’s deputy director for Africa.



11 comments on “Ethiopia freed jailed opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa

  1. Birhanu Nega is paying for her famousity starting from buing a car and paying for few individuals not from his pocket but from fool Ethiopians pocket

  2. It is a very good news that she is finally released from jail. I am sure this good news is a sad news for some people who have been collection money and trying to gain fame pretending they are struggling for her release. It is not a good news either for the likes of Engineer Gizachew, if she continues with politics, even MEDREK as a whole who used her picture to get the people’s vote. Instead of formulating policy and produce election manifesto, they instead used her to get sympathy from the people there by their protest votes. It is unlikely Medrek guys will get, in future elections, the protest votes they enjoyed in the last election 2010.

  3. i am very happy she is now out of prison. But i admit i am a bit disappointed the way they let her out.

  4. Meles will soon pay the price for breaking this great woman sprit with physical and psychological torture . I am happy to see her free but I don`t think she will ever be the same again…I also don`t believe she will ever go back to politics .

  5. Her decision to sign such a document to get out of prison indicates to me that she has lost hope in Ethiopian politics and the politicians, so called oppositions. That probably led her to believe that it is not worthy to sacrifice herself. Any way, I think it is a major blow to her party supporters despite they try to conceal their disappointment.

  6. Good news but I am not still convinced why in the first place she was kept in jail. It is my hope now the ruling party and the oppostion party stop seeing each other as enemies and concentrate on doing what is best for Ethiopia.

  7. Realy good news for almost all ethiopians, but realy harsh news for the extrim heters of Ethiopia the likes of Brhanu Nega and his allies.
    Any way I wish bright futur for the talented Ms Birtukan Medeksa

  8. God bless you PM meles for releasing of our best Ethiopian youngster and beauty lady from dull jail.there are plenty murders who must be put in jail specially religious leaders like Abune pauolos,some protestant rent seekers who gather different land in different places of Ethiopia in name of church which has been built a hall now a days.so PM meles now are building sustainable democracy in our country.Birtukan and Tewodross kassahun are best lady and man (Both are you tough youngsters)they are important for our government as well as for us.please try to charge most murder ,man like i mentioned above put in jail soon .long live for you.

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