Yesterday, around noon time, I received information that Andualem was beaten up by an inmate in his prison cell by an inmate day before yesterday and that someone should come to the prison and see him. I phoned his brother and his lawyers to ask them if they could
visit him in the afternoon. They could not go to the prison in the afternoon because the visit hours were only in the mornings.
They could see him today and came to UDJ office to report what they found out. First of all about Andualem’s condition. Andualem, who is usually emotionally and spiritually strong, was down. He was depressed and was weeping when he met his brother and his lawyers. He complained of headache. A small bruise can be seen on his face on the right side below his eye. He expressed that he has fear that “they” want to kill him. No medical care has been given to Andualem so far.
Background: Andulem is in a prison cell for 14 people in the so called maximum security zone (Zone 3) with people such as Ato Bekele Gerba of OFDM and Olbana Lelisa of OPC and Dr. Tilahun Fantahun. The cell does not have windows.
About a month ago a prisoner named Ibas Asfaw was added to Andualem’s cell. Ibas has been in prison for 16 years and was once sentenced to death because of murder. His sentence was latter changed to life imprisonment. It is said that he has transmittable illness. Ibas is
provocative, insulting and quarrelsome. He takes away food from his cell inmates by force and gives it away to others. He is frequent visitor to the office of prison administration and is said that he is in friendly relations with the authorities there.
Ibas started insulting Andualem since the 13th of February. He took away papers Andualem was using to writ his defense case for the court in two weeks. No one knows where he took the papers. On the 14th, Ibas comes to the cell at around 13 hours with another prisoner
from outside the cell and closes the door and asks Bekele and Dr. Tilahun, who were resting, telling them to get out of the room because they have something secret to talk with Andualem. The two refused to get out. Ibas then went directly to Andualem and kicked him on the left side of his head. Andualem fall down. Ibas boxed Andualem three times while he lay unconscious on the cement floor. Bekele was trying to push away Ibas while Dr. Tilahun called the guards. The guards took Ibas away.
It is rumored that he was taken to the prison administration office and received more than Bir 2,300 and taken to another cell in zone 1. It is said that he receives money since 2005 because he was injured during the shooting in prison when many prisoners are said to have
To the questions of the lawyers the prison authorities said that they can allocate prisoners in any cell they want, that this is administrative matter, they will deal with Ibas administratively, they can get Andualem’s papers from Ibas and Andualem can forward appeal and accusation to the prison administration if he wants to. The prison administration did not take the matter seriously.
Conclusion: We suspect that the placing of Ibas in Andualem’s cell is deliberate and that it was an indirect way of torturing Andualem, humiliate him and have him morally, psychologically and physically broken down, as has been done to Burtukan Mideksa.
The Executive Committee of UDJ will discuss on the matter tomorrow and will decide what action it would take. In the mean time I appeal to all friends to forward this information to all defenders of the Human Rights to condemn what happened to Andualem and demand that he gets medical attention as soon as possible.