Fikru Maru an Ethiopian-born Swedish cardiologist who has been in jail since 2013 on corruption and terrorism charges, was released by Ethiopian authorities on Tuesday his family members said.
Maru who is the founder of a heart hospital in the capital, Addis Ababa, was held in custody on suspicion of graft; but in October 2016, he was sentenced to four years and eight months for tax fraud related to his business.
Though later acquitted of the corruption charges the cardiologist got himself in trouble later when the 67-year old was charged with involvement in causing a fire that ripped through a prison complex and killed dozens of inmates in September of 2016.
Though Prosecutors accused him of financing and recruiting the perpetrators. He had always denied the charges against him.
The terrorism charges against him were dropped on May 10.
“Five years of his life have been taken away despite his innocence. Words cannot express my happiness at his release,” his daughter Amy Fikru told Reuters shortly after he walked out of the prison complex.
Fikru is one of thousands of prisoners, including high-profile journalists and opposition leaders who had been charged with a variety of offences, including terrorism, to be freed.
Their release is part of reform pledges by the government of Abiy Ahmed, who took over in April this year, and preceding administrations, to end widespread protests
Hundreds of people have been killed during protests that convulsed two of the country’s most populous provinces, whose ethnic Oromo and Amharic communities complain they are politically marginalised.