ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Britain has offered sanctuary to the aging daughter of Ethiopia's late emperor after her release from jail, where Ethiopia's pro-Soviet authorities held her since the overthrow of the monarch in 1974, diplomats said Monday.
Princess Tenagne Work Haile Selassie was released from prison Saturday night together with several other relatives of the late Emperor Haile Selassie, who died in 1975.
The sanctuary offer was also extended to a daughter-in-law and five granddaughters of Ethiopia's last emperor.
The whereabouts and circumstances of the 74-year-old princess and the other relatives of the monarch who had been detained for 14 years were not immediately clear. Diplomats said Monday they did not know whether the family would accept the offer to travel to Britain.
The release of the seven followed numerous pleas by western governments over the years.
A British Foreign Office spokesman said Monday that 'it had been understood for some considerable time that should they wish to come, they may do so.'
Ethiopian radio quoted Tenagne Work as saying, 'We are very thankful to the revolutionary government for granting us amnesty.'
Sarah Gizaw, a daughter-in-law of the emperor, said, 'We have been properly taken care of as regards to our health and we have now been released and are very thankful.'
The late emperor, who claimed a 2,000 year-old imperial lineage, died in 1975 at the age of 82, a year after he was deposed by a group of leftwing military officers.
Haile Selassie was widely criticized for living in splendor and ruling in a feudal manner while hundreds of thousands of his people died from a famine in the early 1970s.
Although imprisoned, his relatives never appeared in a public court of law.