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HRW report: Kenya rendered 90, Ethiopia made them “disappear” and the US interrogated them

Human Rights Watch publicou hoxe un informe sobre a detención sen cargos dunhas 90 persoas en Kenya, no ano 2007. Este país entregou os detidos a Etiopía, que os fixo “desaparecer” para o mundo, pero non para os axentes dos Estados Unidos que os interrogaron. Varios dos detidos aínda non “reapareceron” e algún fíxoo en Guantánamo.

O informe leva por título “Why Am I Still Here?” The 2007 Horn of Africa Renditions and the Fate of Those Still Missing. Copio un extracto da súa introducción:

[…] In early 2007, at least 90 people were rendered from Kenya to Somalia, and then on to Ethiopia. Many were held incommunicado and without charge for months, and some were held for more than a year. A few —including a Canadian and nine who assert Kenyan nationality— remain in detention even now. The whereabouts of others —including several Somalis, Ethiopian Ogadenis, and Eritreans— are unknown.

These renditions and detentions followed a US-backed Ethiopian military intervention in Somalia. In late 2006, the Ethiopian military, in support of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government, ousted Islamist authorities from the Somali capital Mogadishu. The fighting caused thousands of Somalis to flee across the border into Kenya, including some who were suspected of terrorist links.

Kenyan authorities arrested at least 150 men, women, and children from more than 18 countries ―including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada― in operations carried out near the Somali border. Suspecting the detainees of having links to terrorism, the Kenyans held them for weeks without charge in Nairobi. Over the course of three weeks from January 20 to February 10, 2007, the Kenyan government rendered dozens of these individuals ―with no notice to families, lawyers or the detainees themselves― on flights to Somalia, where they were handed over to the Ethiopian military. Ethiopian forces also arrested an unknown number of people in Somalia.

Those rendered were then transported to detention centers in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and other parts of Ethiopia, where they effectively disappeared. Denied access to their embassies, their families, and international humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the detainees were even denied phone calls home. Several detainees have said that they were housed in solitary cells—some as small as two-by-two meters—with their hands cuffed in painful positions behind their backs and their feet bound together any time they were in their cells.

In Addis Ababa, a number of prisoners were questioned by US intelligence agents. From February to May 2007, Ethiopian security officers daily transported detainees —including several pregnant women— to a villa where US officials interrogated them about suspected terrorist links. At night the Ethiopian officers returned the detainees to their cells.

After US officials would end their interrogation of a detainee, the Ethiopian government usually sent them home. Of those known to have been interrogated by the US government, just eight Kenyans remain in Ethiopia. (A ninth Kenyan in Addis Ababa was rendered to Ethiopia in July 2007 after American interrogations reportedly stopped.) These men, who have not been subjected to interrogation since May 2007, would likely have been repatriated long ago but for the Kenyan government’s longstanding refusal to acknowledge their claims to Kenyan citizenship or to take steps to secure their release. In August 2008, Kenyan authorities visited these men for the first time, some 18 months after they were first rendered to Ethiopian custody.

The Ethiopian government has also used the rendition program for its own purposes. For years, the Ethiopian military has been trying to quell domestic Ogadeni and Oromo insurgencies that receive support from neighboring countries, such as Ethiopia’s archrival, Eritrea. The Ethiopian intervention in Somalia and the multinational rendition program provided them a convenient means to gain custody over people whom they could interrogate for suspected insurgent links. Once these individuals were in detention, Ethiopian military interrogators and guards reportedly subjected them to brutal beatings and torture. […]

1 Outubro 2008 - Posted by | Ethiopia, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Kenya, Politics, Somalia, United States

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