Congressman Keith Ellison

Representing the 5th District of Minnesota

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Ellison on Release of Ethiopian Prisoners

Feb 15, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) issued the following statement after the Ethiopian government released hundreds of prisoners this week:

“For years, the government of Ethiopia has suppressed freedom of speech, cracked down on Ethiopians fighting for human and civil rights, and detained thousands of peaceful protestors. 

I am pleased that the Ethiopian government released hundreds of prisoners this week, including prisoners of conscience Bekele Gerba and Okello Ochalla, whose freedom my office has been working to secure for the past two years. Their release, and that of others in recent weeks, signals a hopeful moment in what has been a desperate struggle for freedom and safety for all in Ethiopia.

However, there is more work to be done. Ethiopia must open up its political space and tolerate dissenting views in order for stable democracy to thrive. I hope to see the Ethiopian government pursue more needed reforms, starting with dropping the charges against and releasing all prisoners detained for lawfully exercising their civil rights.

I am proud to represent one of the largest Ethiopian diaspora communities in America, and will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that the Ethiopian government respects the basic human rights of its citizens.”