Ethiopia prison administration fires 103 individuals

The Federal Prison Administration, which used to be blamed for violating human rights of prisoners in Ethiopia, says it has fired 103 individuals who were in leadership positions.

“As part of the reform the institution has been undertaking, we have replaced around 103 individuals in the institution from top to down,” said Jemal Abassu, Director General of the Administration.

“The justice system of the country had a very serious problem. As part of this justice system, our institution was committing very serious human rights violations. But now based on the investigation made by different independent organs, we can say that there is almost o human rights violations in our prisoners,” he said, indicating that more needs to be done to bring fundamental change in the institution.

Assessment on six selected prisons has been made to check the reform progress the Authority made over the past six months, according to Mr. Jemal, who indicated that the reform has focused on fixing the problems I the leadership area as well as revising the working manuals and procedures of the institution.

The newly appointed 103 leaders in the institution have been given training on human rights respect and revision of 34 rules and working manuals of the institution, including federal police training manual was revised I the past six months, according to Mr. Jemal who spoke to reporters on Friday.

After the reformist Prime Minister came to power nine months ago, the government has launched investigations on severe human rights violations of prisoners committed by individuals working in the police and intelligence organizations.

As a result dozens of suspected human rights offenders are arrested, while some including the former intelligence chief, Getachew Aseffa, have managed to escape from the police.

The latest report of Human Rights Watch on Somali Region of Ethiopia describes a brutal and relentless pattern of abuse, torture, rape, and humiliation, with little access to medical care, family, lawyers, or even at times to food.