Pastor Daniel Gebraselassie, head of Prison Fellowship Ministry in Ethiopia informs U.S. Embassy officials in Addis Ababa that the Meles dictatorship has been perpetrating severe tortures against detainees. The information comes from the recently leaked secret U.S. diplomatic cables that are now available on Wikileaks. The following is an excerpt of what Paster Daniel told U.S. Ambassador Donald Yamamoto:
Through meetings with these prisoners while detained and following their release, Pastor Dan learned that they were subjected to severe torture while in prison. (NOTE: Prisoners refuse to meet with Ambassador Kassa, saying that the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission is not independent of the GoE. END NOTE) Pastor Dan told Embassy officers that prison officials used Derg-era techniques ) e.g. hanging prisoners from the ceiling in arm shackles, beating the soles of their feet and hanging boards from their testicles ) to try to extract confessions. One of the prisoners reportedly died from injuries sustained while in prison, though prison officials maintain that he is “sick in the hospital.” Another of the former prisoners reported that when he was arrested, police dragged him out of his place of work and was pistol-whipped by plain clothes security forces on the way to the detention facility. The released detainees told Pastor Dan that others detained after them on similar suspicions are still held in Maikelawi. In follow-up meetings with prison officials, Pastor Dan was told that such reports are incorrect and that the prisoners were never tortured. However, in a meeting with the Federal Police Commissioner, he was told that some low-level interrogation officers lack the proper training and can sometimes use unsanctioned methods. Pastor Dan told the group of Embassy officers that “officials at the PM cabinet level” do not condone torture either, and that in the past seven years nearly 200 prison employees had been fired for improper behavior.
Read the full text here.