WATCH: Ethiopia fires prison officials, confronts torture claims

Ethiopia’s government has fired five prison officials as it confronts allegations of torture and other abuses of inmates as part of a wave of reforms. Among those fired is the federal prison chief who until recently defended the treatment of inmates as “fair.”

The removals came ahead of a new Human Rights Watch report released on Thursday that documented widespread arbitrary detention, torture, rape and humiliation over several years in Ethiopia’s eastern Somali region. Human Rights watch urged that the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed investigate the “horrific” situation.

Abiy has conceded that security forces have tortured people but Felix Horne a senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch said to, “tackle Ethiopia’s culture of impunity and ensure accountability, ” will be difficult.

Ethiopian government officials have not commented but State television recently has broadcasted interviews with inmates who alleged rights violations against them.

A former prisoner told the rights group, “I was kept in solitary confinement in complete darkness for most of my detention,”

“I was only taken out at night for torture. They did many things to me – they electrocuted my testicles, they tied wire around them and they put a plastic bag with chili powder over my head. I often had a gag tied in my mouth so I wouldn’t scream too much.”

The Human Rights Watch report said abuses occurred in a prison called Jail Ogaden and that the prison’s security forces, including the Somali region’s notorious paramilitary force, the Liyu police were. implicated.

While the report focuses on one region, the group says there is a widespread problem of abuse in prison in the country.

Watch the video below:

Video Credit- YouTube-Associated press

Photo credit- VOA news

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