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.
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

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid