Birtukan Temporarily Placed With Two Inmates – Abugida Source from Addis

June 16th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Following an incident last Tuesday at Kality prison, sources indicate that Birtukan has been placed with two other female inmates. (more…)

Following an incident last Tuesday at Kality prison, sources indicate that Birtukan has been placed with two other female inmates. According to reliable sources, an undisclosed incident occurred in Birtukan’s cell which caused her to react in a way that is inconsistent with her usual calm and peaceful manner. Sources indicated that there was a great deal of screaming and shouting coming from the area where Birtukan was being kept in solitary confinement. Prison guards were seen physically holding her and restraining her movement. Abebe Zemichael, the head of the Kaliti prison administration, was called to the scene. He called for a medical team which arrived and gave her medical treatment. The nature of the treatment was not disclosed, but sources said that she appeared dazed, confused and unable to speak after treatment by the medical team.

For the past six months, the only people allowed to visit Birtukan have been her mother and four year old daughter. Her lawyer has been prevented from seeing her. Birtukan has been kept in a room by herself without daily human contact. After Birtukan learned of the worldwide demonstrations on her behalf on the radio and thanked her supporters, officials took away her radio. She has few books to read.

Information received over the weekend indicates that Birtukan has been temporarily transferred from solitary confinement and placed in a room with two other female inmates. Sources indicate that Birtukan has been psychologically tortured while in solitary confinement over the past six months, and that last Tuesday’s incident is likely related to the extreme psychological torture she has faced since her imprisonment. According to one prison official who asked to remain anonymous, he does not know why Birtukan is put in isolation. He said, “We keep only violent and dangerous criminals by themselves.” Asked why Birtukan was not allowed to have more visitors after she got permission from a court twice, the source said that prison officials do what they are told by their superiors even if the courts order something different.

Birtukan was picked up on the street last December and taken to prison to do a life term because she allegedly denied receiving a pardon. She was never given an opportunity to challenge her case in court.

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