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Ethiopia admits to detaining terror suspects but denies secrecy

[JURIST] The government of Ethiopia [JURIST news archive] admitted in a statement [text] from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) [official website] Tuesday that it had detained 41 terror suspects and granted foreign investigators access to the detainees for questioning. The admission came after Sweden, Canada, and Eritrea urged [JURIST report] the country to reveal details regarding foreign nationals allegedly detained in secret prisons [JURIST report]. The MFA acknowledged that the suspects came from 17 countries; military courts have ordered the release of 29 of the detainees, and five have already been released. In response to allegations of human rights violations, the Foreign Ministry said

The suspected terrorists have been subject to a process of investigation [...] Those found to have engaged in terrorism will be held accountable for their deeds in accordance with legal processes. All this has been done meticulously and scrupulously in conformity with principles of humanitarian law. Any claim to the contrary is pure fabrication and could be easily proven as such.
The statement did not name which countries had a hand in the interrogations, but did confirm that Ethiopian personnel were present during all questionings, and denied charges that the government had acted in secrecy.

Last week Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] reports claimed [JURIST report] that the US, Kenya, and Ethiopia were cooperating with the transitional government of Somalia to detain refugees from the recent conflict there, leading to disclosure of the existence of prisons in which US government agencies have interrogated individuals suspected of having ties to al Qaeda. AP has more.

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