US report: Zenawi using military camps for detention

Logo12 March 2010 – The US State Department’s annual report on Human Rights released in Washington on Thursday cites that there are several unofficial detention centres operating throughout the country, including in Dedessa, Bir Sheleko, Tolay, Hormat, Blate, Tatek, Jijiga, Holeta, and Senkele. Most are located at military camps and were allegedly used as overflow detention centres following mass arrests.

The report also mentions that in Maekelawi, the central police investigation headquarters in Addis Ababa, police investigators often used physical abuse to extract confessions.

“Numerous reliable sources confirmed,” the report says.

The United States human rights report also cites politically motivated killings, Abductions, politically motivated disappearances, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. It says Ethiopia is holding several hundred political prisoners, including the leader of one of the country’s largest opposition parties.

“Domestic and international NGOs estimated there were several hundred political prisoners and detainees. There were numerous credible reports of unlawful detention of opposition candidates and their supporters,” it adds.

It examines the state of freedom of expression and Internet Freedom. “The government did not respect these rights in practice. The government continued to arrest, harass, and prosecute journalists, publishers, and editors. Several journalists remained in self-imposed exile, including journalists detained following the 2005 elections but released in 2007.”

“The government restricted access to the Internet and blocked opposition Web sites, including the sites of the OLF, ONLF, Ginbot Seven, and several news blogs and sites run by opposition diaspora groups, such as Nazret, Ethiopian Review, CyberEthiopia, Quatero Amharic Magazine, Tensae Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian Media Forum.”

Elsewhere the report mentions foreign journalists and local stringers working for foreign publications at times published articles critical of the government but were subjected to government pressure to self-censor. “Ethiopian-citizen Washington Post reporter (based in Addis Ababa) Kassahun Addis fled the country due to a credible fear of persecution.”

Read full report: here

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