Pardons for jailed opposition leaders

July 20, 2007 at 6:53 AM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 20 (UPI) -- The Ethiopian government pardoned 30 opposition leaders sentenced to life in prison after 2005 election protests.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi announced the pardons for the members of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy leaders and for six men and two journalists sentenced to jail following the protests, the BBC reported.

EU election observers had called the life sentences "farcical" and "inhumane."

Thousands of people protested following the 2005 election, most of them protesters killed by government security forces, the BBC reported.

The pardons took effect immediately so the prisoners should be freed soon, the BBC reported.

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