ETHIOPIA PARDONS DETAINEES IN 'NEW YEAR' FETE
September 12, 2006: Ethiopia granted amnesties to hundreds of prison inmates in the first such move in five decades that also saw death row convicts have their sentences commuted, officials said.
The state-run Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) said the amnesties were "the first in 50 years" and had been granted "in connection with the Ethiopian New Year" as a reward to convicts for remorse and good behaviour.
"The prisoners were granted the amnesty and reduction of prison terms as they have repented and shown good discipline while they were in prison," it reported.
Of the 263, 237 won total amnesty while the others, among them the 11 death row inmates, had their sentences slashed, prisoners convicted of rape or corruption were not eligible. (Sources: Agence France Presse, 12/09/2006)