From Human Rights Watch
Today, Maekelawi, the infamous police station in the heart of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, was opened for the first time to the public. For years, Maekelawi has been synonymous with abuse and repression. It stopped being operational last year soon after Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, took office.
Many of those detained in Maekelawi were political prisoners – arrested for their perceived political views or journalism work. The fate of those sent to Maekelawi – except for the more high-profile detainees – was largely unknown to the outside world. Opening up its gates and offering the public a glimpse of its brutal reality may help some former detainees deal with the trauma they endured.
During research on abuses in Maekelawi for a 2013 report, I spoke to Badessa (not his real name), a 22-year-old ethnic Oromo whose life was turned upside down when one day the authorities snatched him from his university dorm and drove him hundreds of kilometers to Addis Ababa.
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