Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia has been sweeping aside decades of severe repression and false accusations against members of his government. On Wednesday, a man who was last seen taking photos of Israeli soldiers during a 2015 attack was released along with a military officer and seven others, including a woman who had been in jail for 20 years. Dozens more are expected to be released soon. A day before the march of freedom, Mr. Abiy urged civilians to join his journey on the streets and questioned the government’s long-standing ban on demonstrations.
Political prisoners. The Defence and Interior Ministries issued a joint statement announcing that they would release 46 opposition leaders and activists who were arrested in the last two years. The government has previously accused anti-government groups of orchestrating protests to destabilize the country.
A military court acquitted four people last week for participating in protests and an influential religious leader is expected to soon be released. Mr. Abiy has a history of working with the international community and even brought up former President Bill Clinton during a recent visit to Washington. He became Ethiopia’s prime minister in April 2018 and is a leader in his own right.
Even opposition figures are turning to him for support. Yessuf Ahmed Mergen, a former government spokesman who fled the country for Qatar in 2015, is returning to Ethiopia to join Mr. Abiy’s forces. He released a statement after the political prisoners were released, saying “Now is the time to support you in the fight against injustice, tyranny and tyranny in general.”