Ethiopians are locked up under the State of Emergency Law, which is euphemistically peddled as Law Enforcement (ህግ ማስከበር) by the incumbent government, which exclusively controls the media. The prisoner who related the following testimony was captured in August 2023 under the State of Emergency Law (SEL).

Officially, the SEL has been imposed on the people living in the Amara regional state by the incumbent regime. The SEL has made it easier and legally justifiable to harass Amaras who live not only in the so-called Amara regional state but also on all Amaras who live in all parts of Ethiopia. The ex-prisoner gave the following interview upon his release from this notoriously dehumanizing prison.

I have taken the liberty to translate the recorded interview from Amharic into English. I have done this to bring to light the plight of millions of Amaras who, for the last ten months, have been officially subjected to an all-out, full-scale war. This genocidal war is taking a heavy toll on Amaras on a daily basis. I have to rewind the tape-recorded interview several times to convey the message this ex-prisoner wanted to get across about the unfolding tragedy in the prisons run by the incumbent regime. That was the tedious and time-consuming part of the translation process.

This former prisoner of conscience gave this interview based on anonymity lest he is thrown back into the notorious concentration camp. I have inserted what he said between inverted commas. He said, “I was abducted in August 2023 from his home at 8 PM in the evening while I was playing with my kid. I was subsequently taken to the Federal Police Office located at the Mexico square in Addis Ababa city. There, I was subjected to a barrage of degrading insults and threats that were psychologically damaging to me during eight days of my stay at this police office”. He said, “For eight days, I was not allowed to see my family members, talk to a lawyer, and I was held incommunicado. During my interrogation by the prison officials, sometimes 5 and at other time 7 interrogators came to interrogate me.”   To read the full translation in PDF (Translated from Amharic into English.)

By Assefa Negash, M. D.
Amsterdam, Netherlands

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