TRIPOLI (The Jordan Times) — The bodies of 133 migrants have washed up on the shore at the western Libyan city of Zuwara in recent days, the Red Crescent said on Sunday.
Spokesman Al Khamis Al Bosaifi said about three-quarters of the migrants were women and there were at least five children. No documents were found with the bodies, which were partly decomposed, but they were mainly sub-Saharan Africans, he said.
A local security official said the migrants were thought to have set off from the nearby city of Sabratha, where a surge in boat departures led to hundreds of migrant deaths last week.
Migrants hoping to reach Italy from Libya pay hundreds of dollars to traffickers for a place in a boat. The vessels are often flimsy and ill-equipped for the journey across the Mediterranean.
The crossing is far more dangerous than that between Turkey and Greece, which was the busiest sea route until a deal to curb flows between the European Union and Turkey came into force in March.
So far this year more than 40,000 migrants have arrived in Italy after crossing the central Mediterranean, many fleeing poverty, repression and conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 2,000 have died trying to make the crossing.
June 3, 2016 – taking picture was forbidden: this is a hidden picture glimpse of Mr Bekele Gerba and and the 21 others in the same file for a hearing at a court all barefoot. The detainees were also wearing mere shorts and t-shirts when they appeared at the Federal High Court 19th Criminal Bench in the capital. Right after they were forced to wear pajamas and tank top. They left Qilinto only in underwear.
(Amnesty International) — Authorities in Ethiopia should immediately stop the ill treatment of political opposition members and human rights defenders who were beaten in detention and then forced to appear before the court inadequately dressed, Amnesty International said today.
The 22 defendants, including political opposition leaders Gurmesa Ayano and Beqele Gerba, Deputy Chief of the Oromo Federalist Congress, were brought today before the court inadequately dressed. According to complaints lodged with the court by Beqele Gerba, some defendants were beaten while in detention, and prison officials confiscated all the defendant’s black suits, which they intended to wear to court. The rest of their clothes were taken by other prisoners.
“Aside from the beatings they suffered in detention, degrading the defendants by making them attend court in their underpants is a new low in the behavior of the prison authorities and a total outrage,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Eastern Africa and the Great Lakes.
“The Ethiopian authorities and the Court cannot let this ill-treatment go unanswered. They must ensure a prompt credible investigations and that those responsible are held accountable.”
The 22 defendants were charged under the Anti-terrorism Proclamation law for organizing the November 2015 Oromia protest. On April 26, 2016 the court adjourned their hearing for May 11, 2016. However on May 11 the prison authorities failed to present the defendants in court. The defendants all wore black suits in mourning for those killed during the protests, which apparently caused the prison authorities to refuse to take them to court.
“Ethiopia’s long time muzzling of dissent has had a devastating effect on opposition members and human rights defenders who are completely prevented from exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” said Kagari.
Beqele Gerba and the co-defendants in the case were arbitrarily arrested following the largely peaceful protests which began in November 2015 against the dispossession of land without adequate compensation in Ethiopia’s Oromo region.
In response to the protests, the authorities arbitrarily arrested thousands of people, and several hundreds of people participating in the protests have been unlawfully killed by the security services.