Ethiopia’s New Year gift to prisoners
The News: The Ethiopian government has announced the release of 8,875 prisoners as part of a goodwill Ethiopian New Year gesture.
The Lowdown: The prisoners were released from prisons located in Amhara, Oromia, Benishangul Gumuz and Gambella regional states and are part of the Ethiopian government’s strategy of fostering peace and reconciliation in the country. The released prisoners are expected to re-join their families and re-integrate into the wider society, with the hope they become productive and law abiding citizens of Ethiopia. The mass prisoner releases have included members of various rebel groups, who had been jailed on offences ranging from membership of previously banned organisations to committing high treason. The Ethiopian New Year falls on September 11 (or September 12 during a leap year), as the country uses calendar that counts its year seven to eight years behind the Gregorian calendar.