Harrowing Accounts of Death, Torture and Inhuman Condition In Ethiopia’s Notorious Prison

Harrowing Accounts of Death, Torture and Inhuman Condition In Ethiopia’s Notorious Prison

HRLHA Urgent Action

August 10, 2017

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, Wallaga, 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 been detained under the pretext of being members or supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), as their cases  filed by the procurator indicate.

Among those Oromos mistreated in Ma’ikelawi (Ethiopia Guntanamo),  the HRLHA managed to get the following names.

# Name Gender
1 Habtamu Beyene Amante M
2 Kefyallew Nigatu Badhasso M
3 Obbo Caalii Yaadataa Bulchaa M
4 Bilisuma Fikadu Tadesse M
5 Shanko Abusha Fayissa M
6 Olana Bayisa Galmessa M
7 Bilisa Beyene Amante M
8 Tesfaye Abebe Geneti M
9 Waktole Hailu Tufa M
10 Fikadu Zeleke Wirtu M
11 Gonfa Mukara Amante M

Ethiopian authorities should respect  the rights of detainees. They should be treated in accordance with the domestical,  regional and international standards on the treatment of prisoners signed by the Ethiopian government. The Ethiopian Government for the past 26 years has continually breached those standards:

  1. The 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia Articles 14-19[1] by arresting citizens without court warrant, using torture and inhumane degrading treatments and deprived citizens of their livelihoods and generally discriminated against Oromo nationals
  2.   International[2] treaties  it has signed and ratified :
    • CAT – Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatments or Punishment (1994)
    • CCPR – International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1991)
    • CESCR – International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1991) and
    • CERD – International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1976)

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) strongly condemns the irresponsible actions of the Ethiopian Government and its agents for their inhumane treatment of citizens. The government should be held accountable for failing in its duty and responsibility to protect and promote human rights in its territory.

The HRLHA also calls upon regional and international donor States, state agents  and organizations  to take measurable steps against the Ethiopian TPLF/EPRDF government for its persistent brutal, dictatorial, and repressive actions against innocent and unarmed civilians

Copied To:

  • Office of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,
    Haile Mariam Dessalegn – Prime Minister of Ethiopia
    P.O.Box – 1031
    Addis Ababa
    Telephone – +251 155 20 44; +251 111 32 41
    Fax – +251 155 20 30 , +251 15520
  • Office of Oromiya National Regional State,
    Lema Megersa, President
    Telephone –   0115510455  or  +251 11 550 4220
  • Office of the Ministry of Justice of Ethiopia
    PO Box 1370,
    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    Fax: +251 11 5517775; +251 11 5520874
    Email: ministry-justice@telecom.net.et
  • Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
    United Nations Office at Geneva 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
    Fax: + 41 22 917 9022
    (particularly for urgent matters) E-mail: tb-petitions@ohchr.org
  • Human Rights Treaties Division (HRTD)
    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
    Palais Wilson – 52, rue des Pâquis
    CH-1201 Geneva (Switzerland)
    Tel: +41 22 917 97 06
    Fax: +41 22 917 90 08
    E-mail: cat@ohchr.org
    Secretariat contact details
    Secretariat of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture
    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
    Palais Wilson – 52, rue des Pâquis
    CH-1201 Geneva (Switzerland)
    Mailing address:
    CH-1211 Geneva 10
    Tel:  +41 22 917 97 44
    Fax: +41 22 917 90 22
    E-mail: opcat@ohchr.org
    Internet: http://www.ohchr.org
  • Committee on Enforced Disappearance (CED)
    Human Rights Treaties Division (HRTD)
    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
    Palais Wilson – 52, rue des Pâquis
    CH-1201 Geneva (Switzerland)
    Mailing address:
    CH-1211 Geneva 10 (Switzerland)Tel.: +41 22 917 92 56
    Fax: +41 22 917 90 08
    E-mail: ced@ohchr.org
  • African Commission on Human and Peoples‘ Rights (ACHPR)
    48 Kairaba Avenue, P.O.Box 673, Banjul, The Gambia.
    Tel: (220) 4392 962 , 4372070, 4377721 – 23
    Fax: (220) 4390 764
    E-mail: achpr@achpr.org
  • Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
    Council of Europe

    F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE
    + 33 (0)3 88 41 34 21
    + 33 (0)3 90 21 50 53
  • Human Rights Watch
    Felix Hor
    “Felix Horne” hornef@hrw.org

[1] Ethiopian Constitution of 1995. http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/research/Proclamation%20no.1-1995.pdf
[2]  UN HRC Ratification Status for Ethiopia, http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/TreatyBodyExternal/Treaty.aspx?CountryID=59&Lang=EN