Aug 11, 2017

HRLHA Denounces Use of Torture and Systematic Killings of Oromos in Ethiopian Prisons

Photo courtesy of AllAfrica


A recent press release by the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) denounces the violence and the inhuman conditions that inmates face in Ethiopian prisons. Among them are thousands of Oromos, as a consequence of the crackdown on protesters and activists who oppose – or individuals who are suspected to oppose – the governing TPLF/EPRDF which has been in power since 1991. As reported by HRLHA, prisoners in the country are subjected to torture and beatings, while political prisoners are being systematically killed. Former detainees of the infamous Ma’ikelawi prison, known as the Ethiopian Guantanamo, told the courts that they had been kept in solitary confinement for months. Scars on their bodies are proof of severe beatings and torture committed by the prison staff. HRLHA calls upon the international community to stand up against the Ethiopian government’s repressive actions against innocent civilians and the non-observance of provisions in the country’s very own Constitution and international treaties the country has ratified, such as the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatments or Punishment.


Below is an excerpt of HRLHA’s press release:


Ever since the TPLF/EPRDF came to power in 1991, Ethiopian government forces have used torture, forced disappearances, intimidation and arrests to crush the opponents of TPLF/EPRDF. Tens of thousands of Oromos and others have been incarcerated, thousands of prisoners have been murdered, or denied access to medical treatment and died. By doing so, the TPLF/EPRDF has not brought peace to the country, did not learn from its wrongdoings and has continued unabated committing all sorts of human rights abuses against its people until the present. Today, systematic killing is continuing and tens of thousands of political prisoners and individuals suspected of opposing the government have suffered crimes against humanity. Among those who recently died in prison from inhumane treatment was Ayele Beyene, who expired while in police custody at Qilinto prison, a maximum prison facility in Finfinne/Addis Ababa. According to HRLHA's informant, Ayele Beyene- a government employee- was detained in September 2016, in Finfinne/Addis Ababa, Nifas Silk zone where he worked as head of the management department of Nifas Silk zone administration. Ayele Beyene, 29, was born in Western Oromia, Wallag, Qelem in Gidami District in the village of Abote. He was arrested with many Oromo nationals as part of a government crackdown against anti-government protests in Oromia regional state which have continued for over two years since November 2015 to October 8, 2016. To calm the uprising in Oromo, the TPLF/EPRDF declared a state of emergency, a declaration that effectively gave free rein to its killing squad Agazi. From October 8, 2016 to August 7, 2017, thousands of Oromo nationals have been murdered in their homes and on the streets by the Agazi force and thousands have been arrested and jailed in different military camps including Ma'ikelawi (The Ethiopian Guantanamo) and exposed to horrifying experiences, subjected to rampant torture and other ill-treatment, inhuman treatments which have resulted in broken limbs and ribs, genital mutilation and other degradations. In the Matakal Dangab/special zone in Amhara regional State, Oromos picked up from their homes and workplaces are victims who have been kept incommunicado at Ma'ikelawi for over six months. When finally brought to court on August 2, 2017, the Matakal Oromos pleaded to the court that they were severely beaten and tortured while they were in Ma'ikelawi (Guantanamo). As proof they showed the scars inflicted on their bodies by the police. Oromo nationals in the MatakalOromia special Zone have Ayele Beyene Page 2 of 4 been detained under the pretext of being members or supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), as their cases filed by the procurator indicate.


Click here to read and download the full document.