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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Ethiopian opposition demands release of Jawar Mohammed, others

Ethiopia’s main opposition party, the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), has called for the release of its jailed leaders, saying it was difficult to prepare for elections without them.

In a statement, the party also demanded its closed offices be opened and for the right to freely campaign across the country before the elections.

The general election had been planned for August but was postponed to next year but a date has not been announced.

The OFC said those in prison include potential candidates, organisers and election observers.

Senior party leaders including its vice-chairperson Bekele Gerba and prominent member Jawar Mohammed were arrested in July following violence that rocked the country after the killing of Hachalu Hundessa, a popular singer and activist.

They are now facing terrorism charges.

Last week Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met and discussed plans for the election with opposition and civic society leaders.

He re-affirmed his government’s commitment to free and fair elections.

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