"The war against terrorism is a war against those who engage in torture."
- Ed Markey
In what will come as good news to many concerned individuals, activists and groups worldwide, news sources from Somalia say authorities in the country have captured and deported the former commander of Ethiopia’s notorious Jijiga Central Prison, commonly known as Jail Ogaden.
The former commander, Hassan Ismail Ibrahim was known by the alias “Hassan Dhere”, has been on the run since August 2018. This is after Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed deployed special federal forces to depose long-serving Somali regional state president Abdi Illey.
Hassan Ismail Ibrahim (a.k.a. Hassan Dhere) was captured over the weekend by Somali authorities in the central Somalia town of Goldogob and was immediately handed over to Ethiopian authorities in Jigjiga.
The Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other international Human Rights Groups have been calling for the arrest and persecution of Hassan Ismail Ibrahim for many years as a result of his activities that included grave torture and killings at the Jijiga Central Prison.
According to investigations by the Human Rights Watch, the Jijiga Central Prison (a.k.a. Jail Ogaden) is a facility where thousands of prisoners were tortured and abused through rape, sleep deprivation, and physical assault.
Upon assuming office last year, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the closure of the facility last year with the promise of transforming it into a museum.
Special federal forces that were deployed to depose long-serving Somali regional state president have since arrested him, and Abdi Mohamoud Illey is currently in federal custody facing criminal charges.
The new leader, Mustefa Omer, a known human rights activist has since replaced the head of the dreaded paramilitary Liyu police and promised wide-ranging rights reforms in a state that was ruled for years under the highhandedness of Illey.
According to the 2018 Human Rights Watch Report, estimates of prison population varied widely across time, but it is estimated there was an average of several thousand prisoners at any particular time between 2011 and 2017.
Jail Ogaden, located near Jijiga University, was built in 2001. The prison expanded in 2011, following the escape of some prisoners partially due to pervasive corruption involving prison guards.
At present, the prison has an inner and outer wall and the majority of prisoners are held inside the inner wall in one of 23 cells. Meetings of the prison population are held in an open area in the middle, covered with a tarp.
Civil servants and “high-ranking” prisoners, including at least three former Jail Ogaden prison heads, are housed in more spacious rooms in between the inner and outer walls.
Header Image Credit: Plus TV News