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Former Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) deputy director Woldeslassie Woldemichael claimed at the Federal High Court (FHC) that his constitutional right to be visited by his relatives was being violated by the prison administration at a hearing held last Tuesday December 31, 2013.
At that hearing, Woldeselassie complained he is being singled out and is not being given time for visits.
He said he was only allowed to spend five minutes with his family including his wife and child, Woldeselassie explained to the court; “My elderly mother, is 80 years old, she came one day and went away crying when the prison police told us the time is up after 5 minutes only,” Woldeselassie complained.
This was not the first complaint received by the court. The same request was presented by a majority of defendants in previous hearings.
During a previous hearing on Tuesday October 29, 2013 defendants raised the same claim against the prison administration collectively. The representative of the correctional facility were called to the bench and testified that the prisoners claim was not valid since the facility was restricting visits to five family members each, in order to ensure safety.
“Yes they restricted our right…” explained Markineh Alemayehu one of the defendants after his request to do so was granted by the judges. “…and this restriction is not necessary since we are not scared of anything and we need to see relatives other than our family just like any other prisoners do. But the facility did not allow us to.” On the same day the court gave an order to the correctional facilities that it is not only government’s official duty to respect constitutional rights but also the entire members of the society.