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Archive for Saturday, July 7, 2007

Report: Many still jailed after fleeing Somali war

July 7, 2007

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— At least 76 people who were captured while fleeing the war in Somalia in January are still being held in Ethiopia under a program of secret prisoner renditions backed by the United States, Kenya and Somalia, human rights activists said Friday.

The Muslim Human Rights Forum, a Kenyan advocacy group, said that the prisoners - including 17 Kenyan citizens and 20 Ethiopians - were being held incommunicado and in violation of international prisoner conventions, and may be at risk of torture.

Most of the Ethiopians in custody are members of the minority Ogadeni and Oromo ethnic groups, which are waging separatist campaigns against Ethiopia. International human-rights monitors have warned that Ethiopian security forces routinely abuse members of those groups, and the U.S. State Department has accused Ethiopia of torturing prisoners.

The Muslim group's report, titled "Horn of Terror," provides the fullest accounting so far of the fates of 152 people from 21 countries who were arrested in a shadowy anti-terrorism operation run by U.S. allies in the Horn of Africa that activists think had the backing of American officials.

The captives included at least three Americans, whom FBI agents questioned in Nairobi.

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