News: As Jawar, Bekele & others continue hunger strike EHRC Chief says close supervision required, reasonably justified demands must be addressed


Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba

Addis Abeba, February 05/2021 – The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has deployed a monitoring mission to Kaliti Correctional Facility and Kilinto Prison to monitor the situation of defendants in Jawar Mohammed et al case, who have remained on hunger strike since January 27, 2021, and other prisoners. The Commission’s team visited the said prisons on February 2, 2021 to investigate the current situation of the prisoners on hunger strike and the treatment of Colonel Gemechu Ayana and Tilahun Yemi. EHRC’s monitoring team also talked with the prison administration of both facilities and the prisoners. 

#Ethiopia News: Defendants on @Jawar_Mohammed file continue protest with hunger; police briefly detain defense lawyer Defense lawyer Kadir Bulo, who was briefly detained yesterday, told @MahletFasil that his clients continued to protest with hunger.— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) February 2, 2021

During the Commission’s visit to Kaliti Correctional
Facility on February 2, 2021, Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, Hamza Adane
(Borena) and Shemsedin Taha had been on hunger strike since January 27, 2021.
The prisoners  informed EHRC that the
purpose thereof is to “protest the government’s suppression and violation of
rights of people and their party; to ask for a stop to the harassment and ill
treatment of Colonel Gemechu Ayana and to demand that the mistreatment and
imprisonment of the visitors and relatives who attend their hearings and visit
them in prison.” 

The Kaliti Correctional Facility administration on its
part told EHRC that “most of the demands listed as reasons for the hunger
strike are beyond the remit of the administration.” Adding that the
administration does not mistreat the prisoners’ visitors, it explained that two
of the prisoners on hunger strike are receiving close medical supervision
because they have a prior health condition which requires regular medication.
The Commission’s team was able to confirm the provision of said medical

EHRC has also visited Colonel Gemechu Ayana and
Tilahun Yemi, the safety and security of both of whom was said to be in danger
in relation with a video footage filmed from inside prison and circulated on
social media. Both of the prisoners are in good health and have suffered no
bodily injury. However, Colonel Gemechu Ayana expressed his dismay to the
Commission with regards to the harassment he has suffered by being transferred
to various holding areas (zones) several times. He also said that he was moved
from the holding area (zone) he was in before “to another one that puts his
safety at risk”.

The prison administration says
that prisoners are regularly moved from one holding area (zone) to another and
that there are other prisoners in the same area (zone) as Colonel Gemechu. During
the visit, the Commission found one prisoner who had indicated being moved to
the area (zone) for breaking prison rules.

Prison Administration was preparing to move Colonel Gemechu Ayana to another
holding area following EHRC’s recommendations in this regard, when the Federal
High Court at a hearing on February 3, 2021, ordered for the prisoner to be
returned to Kilinto noting that the prisoner’s transfer to Kaliti did not
follow due process. The
Commission has confirmed the transfer by visiting the prisoner on February 4,

EHRC has also investigated the treatment of Tilahun
Yemi, detained on suspicion of assassinating musician Hachalu Hundessa. The
prisoner is in good health and has told the Commission that he has not been
beaten or otherwise suffered any rights violations in Kilinto. However, he told
the Commission that he was mistreated during his detention in a police station.

With regards to the prisoners in Kaliti Correctional Facility who are on a hunger strike, EHRC Chief Commissioner Daniel Bekele said that “very close supervision is required to prevent any grave threat to their health and life and that reasonably justified demands of the prisoners must be addressed.” He added that “during visits to prisons or attending court hearings visitors must be treated properly.” EHRC Dispatch.
The post News: As Jawar, Bekele & others continue hunger strike EHRC Chief says close supervision required, reasonably justified demands must be addressed appeared first on Addis Standard.


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