More than 100 Somali Prisoners were set free on Monday and handed over to Somalia’s Federal government in a rare move made by the Ethiopian government, a top official has confirmed.
Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheire, who is currently attending the 29th African Union summit in the neighboring East African nation confirmed the release on his twitter feed.
‘’Ethiopia agreed to hand over 120 Somali Prisoners in the framework of an agreement we reached,’’ he tweeted.
Mr Kheire did not mention if there were other Somali inmates still in Ethiopian jails.
The freed detainees are expected to join the Somalia Prime Minister’s trip back to home in the coming days.
It is unclear if the Prisoners, who were released under an agreement reached by both governments last month in Addis Ababa, completed their sentences.
Details of the offences for which they were imprisoned were not immediately available. Most of them have served in the Ethiopian jails for decades without any trial.
Over the years, a number of Somali nationals have died in Ethiopian jails subject to inhuman abuses.
Ethiopia is a country of dual realities. Visitors and diplomats alike are impressed with the double-digit economic growth, the progress on development indicators, and the apparent political stability. But in many ways, this is a smokescreen: many Ethiopians live in fear. The current government – the only one since 1991 – runs the country with an almost complete grip on power, controlling almost all aspects of political, public, and even much private life.
According to human rights organizations, the conditions in Ethiopian prisons are harsh and life threatening. Prisoners are subject to torture and inhuman treatment.
Ethiopia contributes a significant number of troops to the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM).