19 October 2018

Ethiopia: Police Accuse Ex Somali Region President of Attempt to Escape Prison, Defendant Accuses Police of Mistreatment

The federal police investigating ex Somali region president Abdi Mohamed Omar told the federal high court today that the deposed president had "attempted to escape prison by smashing a window & strangling a guard", an accusation the defendant vehemently denied.

The police said this in response to Abdi Mohamed Omar, a.k.a Abdi Iley's, complaint of mistreatment while in police custody and accusations that he was forcefully kept in a small cell along with a mentally ill prisoner who has "twice threatened to take my life." He described an incident in which one prisoner dislocated a door and threw it at him "in order to hurt me."

Responding to Abdi Iley's complaints, the police told the presiding judges that the ex-president was first kept in an office space due to his complaints of poor health. But after his attempted escape, he was taken to prisoners' cell and was given "a separate room," a statement Abdi Iley denied. He further said that this was an attempt by the police to "defame my name" and place him under duress. However, the police asserted that during discussions, the deposed president has "taken responsibility" for the violence on the weekend of August 04 in Jigjiga, the capital of the Somali regional state, which led to the subsequent removal of him from his position.

Abdi Iley was detained on August 27 from a house in Addis Abeba. He remained in jail facing serious criminal charges after having his August 30 request for bail was turned down by the federal high court. He was arraigned for the fourth time and the police have asked and were granted additional ten days to complete the investigation. The court adjourned the next hearing on Oct. 29. AS

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