Ethiopia: Ex-president of Somali region attempted to escape prison, police say

by Engidu Woldie

ESAT News (October 19, 2018)

Police told a court in Addis Ababa today that the ex-president of the Somali region had attempted to escape prison. But Abdi Illey denied the accusation and said police was simply defaming him.

Abdi Mohamoud Omar, also known as Abdi Illey, was arrested in August for violations of human rights, inciting ethnic and religious conflict in the restive Somali region in Eastern Ethiopia.

Police told the court that Illey was transferred to a better room that was serving as a police officer for his safety and considering his frail health condition. Illey had broken the window of that room, choked a prison guard and tried to escape, according to police.

Illey however said he was held together with mentally ill prisoners which he said had become a threat for his life.

Illey, who was removed from power in August, stands accused of abuse of power, torture and imprisonment of his critics, corruption as well as the displacement of over a million Oromos from the Somali region. He is also accused of inciting communal clashes that resulted in and the death of hundreds.