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Ethiopia Denies US Interrogated Terror Suspects on Ethiopian Soil

An Ethiopian official has denied a report that says U.S. officials are interrogating terrorism suspects at secret prisons in Ethiopia.

The report by the Associated Press Wednesday said hundreds of men, women and children from 19 countries have been transferred secretly in recent months to Ethiopia from Kenya and Somalia. The report cited human rights groups, lawyers, and Western diplomats as its source.

However, Bereket Simon, an advisor to Ethiopia's prime minister Meles Zenawi, denied the existence of secret prisons and said no U.S. interrogation is taking place in Ethiopia in any form.

The AP's story concurs with a Human Rights Watch report released last week.

That report said the Kenyan, Ethiopian, Somali and U.S. governments have worked together to capture and hold some people who had fled fighting between Islamists and Somalia's Ethiopian-backed transitional government.

In an interview with VOA, a Human Rights Watch official, Tom Porteous, accused Horn of Africa governments of using the war on terror as an excuse to clamp down on political opponents.