Friday, July 19, 2013

Melbourne boy at risk in notorious Ethiopian prison

(July 19, 2013, (The Age))--A 15-year-old Australian imprisoned in a notorious Ethiopian federal jail for killing his niece was initially forced to share a cell with international criminals and drug traffickers, according to his lawyer.

The teenager, Obsa Paulos Gudina, is now in his third, and "cleanest" cell in Kaliti prison since his arrest in April 16 for what his family say was a tragic accident, lawyer Taffesse Gebremedhin has told Fairfax Media. Mr Gebremedhin said that despite third-world prison conditions and an initial period of depression, Obsa Paulos Gudina is coping better since his change to a cleaner, less crowded cell.

"I had an extended conversation with him [on Thursday]... He's healthy looking. He looks nice, he's happy," he said. Mr Gebremedhin said that Obsa was first placed in a "big cell... with over 300 prisoners, many of them arrested in connection with drugs".

"It was terrible... many prisoners suffer suffocation [due to the] lack of ventilation. He was depressed... not healthy looking, [and] not really in a stable condition," Mr Gebremedhin said. Read more from The Age »

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