ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Somali security personnel have arrested the former head of an Ethiopian prison notorious for torture and handed him back across the border, a regional official said on Monday.
The government of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed fired Hassan Ismail and other senior officials at the so-called “Jail Ogaden” last year after accusing them of rights abuses.
On the run since then, Hassan was caught in the Puntland region of neighbouring Somalia and handed over to Ethiopian custody, said Mohamed Olad, spokesman for Ethiopia’s Somali region.
“He was arrested on suspicion of abuses of prisoners,” Mohamed said by phone. “The crimes include torture, sleep, and food deprivation, as well as rape.”
New York-based Human Rights Watch said in July last year, just before the prison was closed, that inmates were systematically abused for years.
Neither Hassan nor any representatives could be reached for comment on the accusations.
Ethiopia’s government had fought Ogaden National Liberation Front secessionists for three decades in the Somali region, before the group declared a unilateral ceasefire in August.