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President Commutes Death Sentences of Dergue Officials

December 19 , 2020

President Sahle-worq Zewde has approved a motion to commute the death sentences of two former Dergueofficials to life imprisonment. The Office of the Attorney-General tabled the motion, and the President approved it on December 11, 2020. Berhanu Bayeh (Col.) and Addis Tedla (Lt. Gen.) have been sheltered inside the Italian Embassy since the EPRDF took control of Addis Abeba in 1991. Former acting Prime Minister Hailu Yimenu and the Military Commander in Eritrea, Tesfaye Gebrekidan, were also part of the group that took refuge in the Embassy but have since passed away. The officials were sentenced to death in absentia for their alleged role in killings committed during the Dergue regime. Despite persistent requests from the EPRDF government, Italian authorities refused to hand over the officials due to the EU's policy against capital punishment. The commutation may allow the officials to be released on parole.


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