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News: Addis Police releases some individuals detained under emergency law on bail, apologies; warns contact with “terror group” inexcusable

Addis Abeba - The Addis Ababa Police Commission said they were releasing some individuals who were arrested suspected of having contacts with the terrorist organizations and were under investigations "are being carefully identified and released."

On November 02 last year, Council of Ministers announced nationwide state of emergency for six months, which was followed by a sweeping arrest of hundreds of individuals, including journalists and rights activists from Addis Abeba and various parts of the country. However, an overwhelming majority of detainees are Tigrayans. On November 13, Amnesty International said that ethnic Tigrayans in Addis Abeba including children and the elderly were targeted arbitrary arrests and mass detentions after a state of emergency was enacted earlier in November. Most detainees are being held without charge or access to a lawyer, Amnesty said.

“Detainees, including civil servants, Orthodox priests and a lawyer are being held in youth centers and other informal detention centers across Addis Abeba because police stations are overflowing.”

In a statement it released this afternoon, Addis Abeba Police said that they were releasing "suspects who had apologized for their actions, who had not committed serious crimes, and who were not a threat for being released." However, the City Police also said individuals suspected of having direct or indirect links with the "TPLF terrorist group" continued being investigated in accordance with the directives issued by the Emergency Proclamation Directive. "Those who are being released were being released either on bail or on showing varying degrees of remorse. The rest will be released in the future."

A report released by the Human Rights Watch on January 05 said that "Ethiopian authorities have arbitrarily detained, mistreated, and forcibly disappeared thousands of ethnic Tigrayans recently deported from Saudi Arabia, Human Rights Watch said today." HRW called on Saudi Arabia to stop "holding Tigrayans in abhorrent conditions and deporting them to Ethiopia, and instead help the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide them with international protection."

Despite the announcement of the release, the City Police said that "individuals who are released on bail will be held accountable in the future based on their crimes and will be required to appear when called upon by law enforcement." It also warned that anyone or organization should be aware that it is against the law to engage with a terrorist group or to promote the terrorist group's objectives." AS

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