February 22, 2019

ODF Statement on the Release of Bekele Gerba and Colleagues from Detention

We are relieved and elated to learn that Bekele Gerba and colleagues have been released from detention. Bekele in particular has established himself as a giant but gentle champion of nonviolent struggle for justice. To the vast majority of Ethiopians, Bekele Gerba represented the moral clarity of Martin Luther King Jr. and the defiance and steadfastness of Nelson Mandela.

We congratulate his family, colleagues in the struggle and friends and the Oromo and Ethiopian populace at large for winning his freedom.

We believe his release marks a major milestone opening the democratic space to resolve all the political, economic and social ills in the country that have led to three years of relentless protests, strikes, and chaos in Oromia and Amhara and part of the South regions.

We take this opportunity to renew our call on the authorities to release the remaining political prisoners and implement the promise of initiating meaningful dialogue with a broad cross-section of stakeholders to pave the way for a smooth and peaceful transition.

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