Controversial former Ethiopia gov’t official Bereket Simon released from prison: Report – Mereja

Controversial former Ethiopia government official Bereket Simon has been released from prison after four years in detention, Addis Ababa based online media outlet Addis Zeybe reported on Wednesday.

Addis Zeybe reported Bereket was released from Bahir-Dar prison in Ethiopia’s Amhara region on Wednesday morning. The report didn’t mention whether Bereket was released through pardon or because he finished his prison sentence.

Bereket was sentenced to six years in prison for corruption in May 2020 by a court in Amhara region. He had been arrested a year earlier.

Bereket who has served several roles in the Ethiopian government including communications minister was a deeply controversial figure.

Widely believed to have been the chief ideologue of former late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who died in August 2012, the once omnipresent Bereket largely fade from public view during the term of Meles successor, Hailemariam Desalegn.

Bereket came back to the spotlight after the coming to power of current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in April 2018.

He expressed ambivalent attitude towards the PM’s “reform” agenda with series of interviews and public appearances expressing “conditional” support to Abiy, but severely criticizing his former colleagues from Amhara region.

As a bright yet ruthless official, Bereket was the face of the Ethiopian government in the media in the bloody aftermath of the 2005 national elections. A government instituted inquiry body found security forces had killed 193 civilians in the 2005 poll aftermath. 6 security forces were also killed in clashes with protesters, the inquiry found..

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