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Ethiopia fires prisons bosses over violation of human rights

Ethiopia fires prisons bosses over violation of human rights


Ethiopia’s attorney general has relieved heads of prisons in the country, accusing them of failing to respect prisoners’ human rights in the discharge of their duties.

State broadcaster Fana BC said the Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye called on their replacements to respect and protect human rights in accordance with the constitution.

‘‘Those responsible for the abuse of human rights will face justice after the necessary investigations are completed,’‘ he said.

Prisoners in a notorious jail in the Somali region of the country were systematically abused for years with little access to medical care and at times to food, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in its report released on Thursday.

The prime minister, Abiy Ahmed last month made a startling admission that government had sanctioned torture of its political prisoners, which he described as unconstitutional.

Challenged by one of the legislators on the constitutionalism of releasing prisoners, especially those jailed for corruption and terrorism, the prime minister simply said, ‘jailing and torturing, which we did, are not constitutional either’.

Abiy, who took office in April has championed reforms in the economy through the liberalisation of strategic state enterprises, politics through reaching out to the opposition and diplomacy through the historic peace offer to Eritrea.

Ending wars, expanding economic ties with Eritrea key to region – Ethiopian PM

Freedom to political prisoners

Ethiopia has released thousands of political prisoners since the beginning of the year as part of reforms to open up the democratic space and revert to constitutionalism in the country.

The notorious Maekelawi detention and investigation center was closed in April this year. The former prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn had announced in December last year that that the Maekelawi prison would be converted into a museum, and that a new center compliant with the national parliament’s guidelines on human rights and international standards would replace it.

Human rights activists and organisations have for a long time accused the Ethiopian government of torturing and mistreating its political opponents, who in the past have been detained en masse during periods of turmoil like the state of emergencies instituted in 2016 and early this year.

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