Maekelawi: The prison in Hell
Ethiopians found "Global Alliance Against Torture in Ethiopia (GAATE)
Ethiomedia | December 22, 2010

In April 2009, Ethiopian police said 35 defendants were rounded up and an impending coup was foiled. Nearly two years later last week, members of the police and security sent out a 32-page report that uncovers the widespread practice of torture in the country. Those who chronicled the excruciatingly harrowing episodes of torture appealed to the Ethiopian Diaspora to spread the message to all corners of the world. The Diaspora responded swiftly, and launched the Global Alliance Against Torture in Ethiopia (See statement at the end of this report).

The appeal from those who witnessed the gruesome procedures of torture emphasizes how the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi - a point man of the West in the Horn of Africa - is committing crimes against humanity in a bid to eliminate anyone the government suspects as its opponent.

The report is based on what is happening in officially known prison sites like the infamous Maekelawi in Addis Ababa. What is frightening is no one knows what is going on in the numerous, clandestine torture chambers the government runs in many parts of the country.

In addition, what's disturbing is not only the degree of pain being inflicted on the defendants. It is that the government is using "ethnicity" to inflame hate among Ethiopians. Readers are advised to exercise caution as the following short piece may carry the gory details of torture.
- Abraha Belai, Editor, Ethiomedia.

Though the defendants were rounded up from around the country in 2009 as accomplices in a 'terrorist' coup attempt, the office of the anti-terrorism had no single evidence to back up its charges.

Lack of evidence, however, didn't deter the interrogators from torturing the defendants before they appeared in court and when they did, the court gave police extra time to collect evidence, the inference of which means giving police (the interrogators) ample time to subject the defendants torture.

One case at a time: The agony of Lt. Ababu Teferi

Lt. Ababu Teferi and 16 other defendants were captured in April 2008 in Bahr Dar. The torture began at Mekod Military Camp in Bahr Dar.

When the inmates were a couple weeks later brought to Maekelawi Prison, they were limping, and their heads were swollen, their faces beaten, and blood oozing from the corners of their blood-shot eyes.

Lt. Ababu's torture session began the next night after his arrival from Bahr Dar. Handicuffed, blinded-folded and naked, he would be hung from the ceiling as his tormentors beat him with electric cords and clubs.

They would drop him on the icy floor and beat his feet. To mute the harrowing, painful wailing that Lt. Ababu cries out during his ordeal, his torturers would stuff his mouth with a dirty rag. The torture continued for several days until the officer lost hearing in one ear.

When no one is there but the turturers drawn entirely from one ethnic group, i.e. Tigray, the officer, like all other defendants from the Amhara ethnic group, would be tormented with psychological abuse. The torturers would assault their victim with ethnic slurs too disgusting to put them down here in words.

Due to the excessive, prolonged torture, Lt. Ababu, the victim, confessed he was responsible for all the charges they threw at him.

The above report was an extract from a 32-page document that was compiled by members of the security forces and police and published on the Internet to spread the word how torture is rife in modern-day Ethiopia whose leader, Meles Zenawi, the West's Horn of Africa footsoldier in the 'war on terror.'

In response to the appeal sent out by members of the security who composed the document that the world should know how innocent citizens are dragged through hell in Ethiopia, concerned Ethiopians have formed the Global Alliance Against Torture in Ethiopia (GAATE). The goal is to put an end to the crimes against humanity, and bring to court all the perpetrators of torture and other crimes against humanity.

Global Alliance Against Torture in Ethiopia (GAATE): Press Release

The Global Alliance Against Torture in Ethiopia (GAATE) is formed in response to the call from some members of Meles Zenawi’s security forces, detailing the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of political prisoners at the infamous Maekelawi Interrogation Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

We have read with horror, shame, and anger the reports about atrocities committed by Meles Zenawi’s regime against defenseless men and women. The accounts underscore the urgent need for action.

Torture is an act of moral depravity, a tool of oppression, and among the gravest human rights violations in the world. It is also a crime absolutely prohibited by international law, including the UN Convention Against Torture, which the Zenawi regime has signed and ratified in 1994.

The smuggled report reveals and documents the extensive use of torture and the savagery with which it was applied to extract false confessions. It reaffirms the need for an independent commission of inquiry into the full extent of the ruling regime’s-sponsored torture.

Numerous international and national human rights organizations, civil society groups, political parties, including the U.S. State Department annual Human Rights Report have repeatedly indicated that Ethiopian citizens are routinely denied due process of law and subjected to extra-judicial killings, torture and mass arrests. This recently published report from inside Ethiopia, by members of the security forces further confirms and serves as an irrefutable evidence of the regime’s brutality and utter disregard for the rule of law.

The Global Alliance, therefore, seeks to bring awareness about the savage crime committed against Ethiopian prisoners to the international community. The Alliance shall employ all means at its disposal to alert the international courts, civic and human rights organizations, civil right advocate, donor nations, individuals and groups to join in the effort to prevent yet another global crisis or genocide from taking place in Ethiopia.

This Global Alliance shall summon the support of attorneys, legal professionals, and experts in international human rights violation and work diligently to bring charges of crimes against humanity against Meles Zenawi and his co-conspirators at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Global Alliance calls upon all Ethiopians and members of the civilized society to condemn state-sponsored torture and join us in our effort to bring those responsible, for authorizing the use of cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners, to be held accountable for their actions. We, also, ask all Ethiopians and human rights advocates to assist the Alliance by providing information, sharing their ideas and expertise and donating resources, in advancing the causes of saving lives and preventing ethnic cleansing and genocide in Ethiopia.

We applaud the heroism and courage of some members of the security forces for making public the full story, including how the horrific practices came to happen, the individuals in charge of the savage torture that took place at Meakelawi and individuals who are responsible for authorizing the inhuman acts.

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