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Ethiopia: Torture in Somali Region Prison

Senior Officials Implicated in Nonstop Regimen of Abuse

Wednesday 04 July 2018

(Nairobi, July 5, 2018) – Prison officials and security forces have arbitrarily detained and tortured prisoners for years in the notorious regional prison known as Jail Ogaden, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Ethiopia’s new prime minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, should urgently order investigations into the horrific situation, and the government should ensure regional security forces and officials are held accountable.

The report, “‘We are Like the Dead’: Torture and other Human Rights Abuses in Jail Ogaden, Somali Regional State, Ethiopia,” describes a brutal and relentless pattern of abuse, torture, rape, and humiliation, with little access to medical care, family, lawyers, or even at times to food. The prison’s security forces, including the Somali Region’s notorious paramilitary force, the Liyu police, are implicated. The unit reports to the Somali Region president, Abdi Mohamoud Omar, known as Abdi Illey. Most prisoners are accused of some affiliation with the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a banned opposition group, but most never face charges or trials.

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