Prisoners of Conscience

Ethiopians protest at the Saudi embassy in Washington, demanding the rescue of their families

Hundreds of the Ethiopian community demonstrated in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington, DC, to protest the inhumane treatment of Ethiopians in the Kingdom.

The Ethiopian News Agency reported that the Ethiopian International Youth Union organized a demonstration in front of the Saudi embassy.

The demonstrators demanded the Saudi regime to end human rights violations against Ethiopian residents in the country.

The Saudi regime began deporting about 40,000 Ethiopian residents, claiming that they resided in the country illegally.

Human rights organizations reported that they are currently being held in conditions that threaten their lives.

Amnesty International conducted interviews with Ethiopian detainees who spoke of their ill-treatment at the hands of the Saudi regime, which held them in prisons without toilets.

They had to use the prison floor to relieve themselves and keep them in overcrowded cells all day without sunshine, conditions that did not exclude pregnant women, young children, or even infants.

The organization quoted some prisoners who were subjected to electric shocks. Others learned of the death of several children in prisons.

A large number of these migrants came from Yemen after the “Houthi authorities expelled thousands of Ethiopian migrant workers and their families to the kingdom,” according to Amnesty International.

The Saudi security forces arrested them and confiscated their belongings, and beat them in some cases. Then the majority of them were transferred to the Al-Dayer detention centre. They were transferred to Jazan Central Prison and then to prisons in Jeddah and Mecca.

The United Nations asked the Saudi regime to stop the deportations, given the risk of carrying a pandemic.

The Ethiopian authorities also called on Saudi Arabia to stop the vicious arrests until the preparation of quarantine preparations to receive them.

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor expressed its deep concern about the campaign of arrests launched by the Saudi regime against Ethiopian immigrants residing in the Kingdom.

The Human Rights Watch expressed its fear of the difficult conditions of detention they live in in the Kingdom’s prisons.

The Geneva-based human rights group said the Saudi police began a campaign of arrests last June 11, targeting neighbourhoods inhabited by Ethiopian immigrants, without distinguishing between those who have legal documents and those who do not have any.

It stressed that the mass detention and deportation campaigns against Ethiopian migrants who have legal documents and those who do not have legal documents without legal justification exacerbate their already dire situation.

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