U.S. Department of State: 2011 Human Rights Reports on Ethiopia

Prison and pretrial detention center conditions remained harsh and in some cases life threatening. Severe overcrowding was common, especially in sleeping quarters. The government provided approximately eight birr ($0.46) per prisoner per day for food, water, and health care. Many prisoners supplemented this with daily food deliveries from family members or by purchasing food from local vendors. Medical care was unreliable in federal prisons and almost nonexistent in regional prisons. Water shortages caused unhygienic conditions, and most prisons lacked appropriate sanitary facilities. Many prisoners had serious health problems in detention but received little treatment.

The country has three federal and 120 regional prisons. There also are many unofficial detention centers throughout the country, including in Dedessa, Bir Sheleko, Tolay, Hormat, Blate, Tatek, Jijiga, Holeta, and Senkele. Most are located at military camps.

At the end of 2010 there were an estimated 86,000 persons in prison, of whom 2,474 were women and 546 children incarcerated with their mothers. Juveniles sometimes were incarcerated with adults who were awaiting execution. Male and female prisoners generally were separated. Authorities generally permitted visitors. In some cases family visits to prisoners were restricted to a few per year. Some of those charged with terrorist activity reported that their families were not allowed to visit them in prison.

Prisoners generally were permitted religious observance, but this varied by prison, and even by section of prison, at the discretion of prison management. Prisoners may, during trial, make complaints about prison conditions or treatment to the presiding judge.

During the year the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited regional prisons but, like all international organizations and NGOs, remained barred from visiting federal prisons, which held persons accused or convicted of crimes against national security, and all prisons in the Somali region. Regional authorities allowed NGO representatives to meet regularly with prisoners without third parties present.

The government and prison authorities generally cooperated with efforts of the Ethiopian NGO Justice for All-Prison Fellowship Ethiopia (JFA-PFE) to improve prison conditions. JFA-PFE was granted access to various prison and detention facilities, including federal prisons. It ran “model” prisons in Adama and Mekele, with significantly better conditions than those found in other prisons.

Because the government routinely failed to meet its accepted obligation to notify diplomatic missions of the arrest of foreign nationals, foreign representatives had only rare access to prisons and other detention facilities.

For the whole documents 186406

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