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Ethiopia's Donors Call For Release of Opposition Figures


Ethiopia's main donors have renewed a call for the release of jailed opposition leaders on trial for allegedly conspiring to topple the government.

In a statement late Monday, the Ambassadors' Donors Group asked Ethiopian authorities to free imprisoned members of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, as well as jailed journalists and activists.

The group of 22 nations and lenders said that "tolerance of dissenting views is a hallmark of democracy."

The Ethiopian government has put 111 people on trial on charges that include treason and attempted genocide. The charges stem from two rounds of mass protests against the May 2005 elections, which the opposition says were rigged.

The donors' group says those the government does not release should receive a speedy, fair, and transparent trial.

Ethiopia recently dropped charges against five Voice of America staffers in Washingon who had also been charged with attempted genocide and treason.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, Reuters.