The Horn Times News 21 April 2013
Human rights institutions urged to assist in stopping the illegal transfer of political prisoners to Zeway death camp.
By Getahune Bekele, South Africa
Located 170 kms south-east of Addis Ababa on the outskirt of Zeway town, the Zeway death camp has been in the news recently after the ruling minority junta began sending political prisoners to the camp since early March 2013.
Chillingly dubbed “the Auschwitz of Africa” the prison was established by former TPLF strong man Tamrat Laine (pictured) in 1993 as forced labor camp to provide cheap slave labor force for his massive sunflower and vegetable farms in the area which he co-owned with the uncontestable black billionaire Sheik Alamoudi Mohammed.
However, after the 2005 nationwide anti-TPLF insurrection, the walled in ghetto with high death rate than any other prison in Ethiopia was transformed into death camp by the late evil tyrant Meles Zenawi.
The high death rate is attributed to malaria infestation, cholera outbreak, tuberculosis, severe malnutrition and unbearable overcrowding; and to widespread torture and extrajudicial killings committed by carefully selected corrupt Tigre camp guards.
In the camp synonymous with poor sanitation, prisoners drink untreated water drawn from the nearby Lake Zeway. The stench of human waste and raw sewerage hangs in the air and gets worse during rainy season.
According to investigation done by the Horn Times and vital information obtained from former inmates, suicide is rampant at the country’s most brutal facility where the minority Tigre junta enslaves Ethiopians forcing them to live with rats and lice inside concrete cells in unspeakable squalor.
“Zeway concentration camp is the most frightening place to be at specially if you are a political prisoner. To survive there you need malaria tablet, the most sought after item in the camp. The brutal Tigre guards sell two tablets of proguanil Hydrochloride and chloroquine phosphate for up to 3 USD to those who afford it, and the smuggled medication costs double that amount.” A former political prisoner who spent 8 years in the facility without ever given a trial date told the Horn Times.
“But for Amhara and Oromo political prisoners things are very different. Even when they produce money to buy medication the genocidal TPLF camp guards would tell them ‘keep your money, you are here to die.’ All guard towers inside Zeway are mini-enterprises for the Tigres who are making extra cash by selling medications, insect repellants, cigarettes and other basic goods at inflated price. Your life in Zeway camp as political prisoner is at the complete mercy of the sadist guards. I am wondering what will happen the day this junta collapses and the entire wronged army of political prisoners attain freedom. Surely there will be a reckoning…” the ex- inmate from the Rift valley city of Awassa warned.
Currently families who are unable to visit their incarcerated loved ones are pinning their hope on the international human rights organizations and Amnesty international to stop this madness of the genocidal junta which is continuing with the erratic, tyrannical and increasingly bloody course pursued by the late despot Meles Zenawi for more than two decades.
“Please appeal on our behalf to amnesty international to make unannounced visit to the death camp.” A depressed mother of two kids whose father is languishing in Zeway said stressing that only the international community has the power to stop the systematic genocide of exposing political prisoners to deadly malaria epidemic.
Furthermore, according to very reliable source within the junta’s hierarchy, in a recent high level TPLF secret meeting attended by supreme ruler Debretsion Gebremikael, security chief Getachew Asefa and the most feared man, federal police boss Workeneh Gebyehu a plan has been approved to send political prisoners the junta considers a threat to the heavily guarded Diredawa prison in eastern desert city of Diredawa which houses thousands of captured OGNLF, OLF and Alshabab fighters.
However, the names of the so called high security risk political prisoners weren’t mentioned at the meeting.