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11:03 am - Wednesday September 26, 2018

Ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson linked with prison torture

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A prisoner charged with armed conspiracy with the Ginbot 7 told a court in Addis Ababa that he was subjected to cruel, inhuman treatment in Addis Ababa central prison (Maekelawi), including receiving beatings and punches at the hands of a man who currently has a high post with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
Seife Alemu under the file name of Getahun Beyene et. al told the Federal high court yesterday that prison and intelligence officers have tortured him and physically attacked him on multiple occasions, barraging him with insults and threats targeting his ethnicity, Getachew Shiferaw, a journalist and activist who attended the hearing reported. “Since I was arrested in Arba Minch hotel by security agents, I was brought to Central prison by Commander Teklay. (Senior investigator Commander Teklay Mebrhatu). I was beaten and kicked by different officers repeatedly, of whom some were women. At times, they would get drunk and start punching me,” he told the court. “ The current spokesperson of MFA, Meles Alem, used to beat me, mocking, the Guraghes were good at stealing, not at politics,” he told the court.
The prisoner showed injuries in his body and he complained he was denied medical help, even when some of the inmates held hunger strikes on his behalf.
After the hearing of the defendant, inmates who were as the defence witnesses testified, corroborating the account.
Maekelawi, a prison cell that the government promised to close down and turn into a museum, has been an important site for the detention and investigation of some of the most politically sensitive cases. Many detainees accused of offenses under the law—including some of Ethiopia’s most prominent political prisoners—have been detained in the Maekelawi facility as their cases were investigated or prepared for trial.

Filed in: Current Affairs / News