Ogaden Refugees Face Torture and Degrading Treatment in Puntland Jails

Bosaso, June 6, 2012 (Ogaden News Agency)–There are currently a large number of refugees from Ogaden region who are miserably languishing in jails in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland regional administration.

The Puntland authorities have not yet provided any concrete evidence of wronging on the part of these illegally arrested refugees who are tortured in their jails except to regard them, by virtue of running away from persecution in their home country, as potential anti- Ethiopian Ogaden rebels who might constitute a threat to the security of Puntland. Some of these detainees are businessmen, elders and youth who have been residents in Puntland for a long time while others were simply refugees passing through their territory.

The Puntland administration has been engaging in this criminal practice, which violates international laws and conventions concerning the rights of refugees and contravenes the domestic constitution of Puntland, for a long time.

President Abdirahman Mohamud Farole of Puntland was on the record to have said in a speech that Ogaden refugees are citizens of Ethiopia who are not welcome in his territory. Subsequently, large numbers of these refugees were rendered back to Ethiopia, the very enemy they have escaped from, in clear violation of international and domestic laws and the age old brotherly hospitality extended to Somalis facing persecution.

Badal Abdi Hussien

Mr. Badal Abdi Hussien was taken away from his shop in Bosaso on February 25, 2012 and detained in jail run by the Puntland Intelligence Services (PIS) in Boosaaso. He was badly tortured there (as you can see in this short video clip) to the extent that the flesh of his fingers has been peeled off. His situation is serious and he needs urgent medical attention. Mr. Badal has not yet been charged with any crime to this day and no one knows why he is held in prison and tortured.

The use of torture is becoming widespread in Puntland jails lately. Relatives of tortured victims are denied access to visit their loved ones for fear of revealing the horrible situation of the prisoners.

According to our sources in Bosaso, the residents of the city are appalled by the despicable treatment meted out to Ogaden refugees in these jails, but they can do very little about it as the practice of holding even citizens of Puntland incommunicado and torturing them is becoming rampant these days in Puntland.

Ogaden News Agency