By Tadesse Yimer
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian police investigators in Addis Ababa’s main detention centre have tortured political detainees and regularly mistreat people in custody to extract confessions, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday.
The Ethiopian government, long seen by the West as a bulwark against militant Islam in the Horn of Africa, has denied frequent accusations that it uses state institutions to stifle dissent and silence political opposition.
It dismissed the HRW report on Friday as “trash”.
In its report on conditions inside Addis Ababa’s Federal Police Crime Investigation Sector, known as Maekelawi, HRW said many former detainees were slapped, kicked and beaten with sticks and gun butts during investigations.
“Human Rights Watch found that investigators used coercive methods, including beatings and threats of violence, to compel detainees to sign statements and confessions,” the group said in a statement, referring to events over the past three years.
Interviews with more than 35 former detainees and their relatives formed the basis of the report, HRW said.
Government spokesman Shimeles Kemal rejected the findings.
“Human Rights Watch… does not have a presence in the country and as a result it lacks the capacity to produce balanced and objective reporting. All in all it is trash.”
Posted By Tadesse yimer
Ethiopian police torture political detainees: Human Rights Watch