Fikru Maru faces terrorism charges stemming from a 2016 fire and riot that happened inside a prison on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Even though Maru was in hospital at the time of the fire and not in the prison, prosecutors allege he planned the violence.
Maru's Swedish lawyer, Hans Bagner, says his team is hopeful the trial, which has been delayed in the past by the prosecutor, will finally finish by next week.
Hopes for Maru's release were raised on Wednesday when Ethiopia's prime minister said he would free political prisoners. But it was not clear if Maru's case would be include in the premier's pledge.