President Isaias Afwerki, free Ethiopian prisoners

XXX

The declaration of peace Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki have signed this week has formally ended a senseless war that the regimes in Addis Ababa and Asmara had waged two decades ago. The people of Eritrea have given an incredibly warm reception to the Ethiopian prime minister when he and his delegation visited Asmara last weekend. President Isaias himself seems to like and trust the new Ethiopian leadership. He treated PM Abiy like a close relative, not as a foreign dignitary, during the Asmara visit. There appears to be a genuine desire by President Isaias and his regime to have a great relationship with Ethiopia. So why not release Ethiopian prisoners, including Captain Bezabeh Petros, Col. Tadesse Muluneh, filmmaker Yoseph Haimanot (who may have been killed), and many others who are currently languishing in jail, and let the families know about those who died in prison so they can have closure.

Ethiopians are ready to warmly welcome President Isaias when he arrives in Addis Ababa Saturday, but not while he is refusing to free Ethiopian prisoners, and allow families to mourn their sons and daughters have died in Eritrean prisons. There is no Eritrean prisoner in Ethiopian jails. If there is any, he/she should also be released. In the speech he gave in Asmara, PM Abiy has apologized to Eritrean mothers for the loss of their sons and daughters in the battlefield, even though he did not participate in the decision to wage the idiotic war. President Isaias must release Ethiopian prisoners and apologize to both Ethiopian and Eritrean mothers for causing the unnecessary death of their children.

President Isaias should also release all Eritrean political prisoners who have been languishing in jail for the past 20 years. Because injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.