[VIDEO CONTENT] Pregnant Ethiopians left to die in ‘hellish’ Saudi detention centres: Amnesty

The imprisoned Ethiopians who spoke to Amnesty said that at least three migrants had died in detention, as some were imprisoned in cells with around 350 people.


(Telegraph Exclusive)

Ethiopian migrants imprisoned in Saudi detention centers have been forced to live in crowded cells and use their prison floors as toilets, a rights group reported this week. 

Testimony given to Amnesty International exposed “dire” conditions in the al-Dayer center and Jizan central prison, where the Ethiopians and people from other nations have been detained. 

The imprisoned Ethiopians who spoke to Amnesty said that at least three migrants had died in detention, as some were imprisoned in cells with around 350 people.

When they opposed their poor conditions, migrants said guards tormented them with “electronic devices” and beat them. 

Among the imprisoned were children, pregnant women, and babies, who are all being held in appalling conditions.

(VOA / Afaan Oromo)

Amnesty International obtained the information after interviewing 12 detained Ethiopian migrants through a messaging app between the 24th of  June and 31st of July.

Their reports were corroborated by videos, photos, and satellite imagery analyzed by the organization’s crisis evidence lab.

The detainees worked in northern Yemen but were expelled by Houthi rebels and sent to Saudi Arabia following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.  

The UN’s International Organisation for Migration said 2,000 Ethiopians remain stranded on the Yemeni border side, without food, water, or healthcare.

Zenebe, a 26-year-old Ethiopian migrant stuck in the al-Dayer detention center, said there were no toilets, leaving detainees forced to use a corner of the cell as a toilet space. 

“It is hell, I have never seen something like this in my life,” Zenebe, who, like other witnesses, was given an incognito in the report, told Amnesty.

“We urinate on the floor, not far from where we sleep. Often we had to walk on it.”

Two detainees who spoke to Amnesty said they had seen three dead bodies – a Somali man, an Ethiopian man, and a Yemeni man – in al-Dayer.

(File: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)

Detainees also expressed concern over the “huge number” of pregnant women in imprisonment. None of the pregnant women who spoke to Amnesty said they had received sufficient healthcare during their captivity.

Roza, a 20-year-old Ethiopian detainee, was six months pregnant when she spoke to Amnesty. She said she saw multiple pregnant women while she was detained. 

She said that when pregnant women were finally allowed to see a doctor, they were put in metal chains and tied in pairs. The pregnant women were taken to an examination room, yet not all were given adequate care. Roza said she was refused an ultrasound and that all the women were given the same pills.

Some of the detained children in al-Dayer had become sick because they were “sleeping in a filthy place.”

Saudi Arabia has long staged a crackdown on unregistered migrants inside the kingdom. Around 10,000 Ethiopians were being deported each month. 

Ethiopian officials called on the Saudi authorities to stop deportations because of Covid-19.


Despite travel restrictions, at least 34,000 people returned to Ethiopia from other nations between April and September this year, including 3,998 from Saudi Arabia. 

What are your views on this? Share with us in the comments below.

  • Featured Content⭐