News / Africa

HRW: Ethiopian Government Uses Torture as Political Tool

FILE - Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn speaks during an interview with Reuters inside his office in the capital Addis Ababa, October 10, 2013.
FILE - Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn speaks during an interview with Reuters inside his office in the capital Addis Ababa, October 10, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Marthe van der Wolf
— Human Rights Watch has released a 70-page report accusing Ethiopia of using torture against political detainees to extract information and confessions. The international rights watchdog is urging the Ethiopian government to stop these alleged practices.
 
The report focuses on Maekelawi, the main detention center in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. Researcher and author of the report Laetitia Bader claims unlawful methods are used in the detention center.
 
“Some of these methods amount to torture or ill treatment, including regular and systematic beatings, slapping and kicking of detainees, particularly during interrogations. Some of the detainees that I spoke to said they were hung, handcuffed from the wall, for hours upon end, while being interrogated and beaten at the same time,” said Bader.
 
Thirty-five former detainees were interviewed for the report, most of who say they were denied access to their families and legal representation and were often forced to sign statements and confessions.
 
A former detainee, who doesn’t want to be named, alleges he was beaten while being tied up in the cold. He said the interrogators do not use police skills to conduct their investigations, but force. The interrogators force detainees to speak about the issue they are suspected of and don’t trust what the prisoners say.
 
The human rights organization believes that the political opposition in the East African country has become increasingly criminalized by an anti-terrorism law, introduced in 2009. Ethiopia’s ruling party has been in power since 1991.
 
Bader says Human Rights Watch is urging the Ethiopian government to take concrete steps to investigate the allegations of mistreatment, “and hold those responsible, regardless of their rank. At the same time it needs to allow Ethiopian courts to investigate allegations and to put in place measures and to protect detainees from reprisals if they do dare to speak out.”
 
Ethiopian government officials were not available to comment on the allegations in the Human Rights Watch report.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid