5 Ethiopians died of suffocation in a Saudi Arabia jail


JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA — The Supervisor General of the National Society for Human Rights in Jazan, Ahmad Al-Bahkali, said the health conditions of many inmates in the main deportation center in Jazan was poor.

Five Ethiopian detainees died of suffocation in the center last week due to overcrowding. Hygienic conditions have deteriorated as well.

“The disease-breeding situation in the center persists,” Al-Bahkali told Arab News on Saturday by telephone. “The situation in the detention center should be reviewed. Basically the facility was meant for the detention of illegal foreigners for a limited number of days before their deportation to their native countries. But now many inmates who entered the country illegally have to stay in the center for longer periods because of various reasons.”

Director General of Health Affairs in Jazan Muhsen Tubaiki said on Saturday that a detailed report on the health situation in the deportation center was submitted to Jazan Gov. Prince Muhammad bin Nasser.

He added that 21 sick inmates were taken to various hospitals. A medical team under him visited the jail and set up a small medical center in the jail on Friday.

“Out of the 21 sick inmates sent to hospital, seven were discharged after treatment while 13 cases are still in the Jazan General Hospital and another one at King Fahd Central. We are also making more efforts to make regular medical checkups of the inmates in collaboration with the immigration authorities in Jazan,” the official said.

The deportation center receives a number of over-stayers each day, mostly Yemenis and Ethiopians.