"I have suffered three times. I lost my family. I was beaten and tortured. And then I was arrested and tortured again. Now I am a refugee whose life hangs in the balance. I have nothing left to lose," Noor told Human Rights Watch.
Noor, a 37-year-old shepherd from the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, is now living in a refugee camp along the Kenya-Somali border.
Noor told Human Rights Watch that in 2004, days after his marriage, Ethiopian forces murdered his wife. They had already killed Noor's mother, father, brothers and sisters. Two months later, members of the Ethiopian army attacked him while he was bringing his goats and sheep to a local watering hole. Noor said that they slaughtered some of the animals with a knife and shot the rest. They then beat him unconscious and slashed his shoulder to the bone.
A young girl who saw the attack alerted some local villagers, who slowly nursed him back to health. Noor spent two months recuperating, before starting on what turned out to be a three-month journey out of Ethiopia, through Somaliland, and into southern Somalia. He eventually ended up in Dobley, a small Somali town near the Kenyan border where his half-sister lived. "At times I was so desperate for food, I ate grass," Noor told Human Rights Watch.
Noor's half-sister fed and housed him for close to a year. But the lingering pain from his wounds persisted.
"At times, I would lose all feeling in my left side, like I was semi-paralyzed. It would take up to a week for the feeling to come back. Other times, my left side hurt so much it felt like my bones were cracking," he said.
Eventually, his half-sister told him she could no longer afford to support him and talked him into seeking medical care at one of the refugee camps across the border in Kenya. "I didn't want to go, but she insisted," Noor said.
Arrest and Detention in Kenya
Noor joined seven other families traveling across the border, sometime around late December 2006 or early January 2007. He spent two days in the transit center in Liboi, Kenya, before boarding a bus to the nearest refugee camp, about two hours away.
But the journey was cut short when the bus was stopped by Kenyan security personnel. The officers ordered all the passengers to get off the bus and show identification.
Noor failed to produce identification, and the officers pulled him aside along with four Somali girls. The girls produced refugee ration cards and were released, but the police held onto Noor, demanding 1,000 Kenyan shillings (about US$15) as a bribe. Noor said that he offered all the money he had-about 600 Kenyan shillings-but the officers were not satisfied. The bus drove away, leaving Noor with the security officers.
Noor said that the police then put him in the back of a Land Cruiser and drove him to a local police station, where he spent four nights. On his last night there, five Oromos and one Somali joined him; all six said they had been arrested crossing the border. The next day, a Kenyan officer took them to Garissa, the regional police headquarters, where they spent another four nights in a small room with more than 30 others, before being transported to Nairobi.
Noor said that in Nairobi, Kenyan officials interrogated him twice. They asked him about his background, including repeated questions about his connections with the Islamists in Somalia and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), an insurgent group that operates in Ethiopia. After the second interview, a Kenyan-Somali official told Noor that there was no evidence he had done anything wrong, and promised that he would be released.
Rendition to Somalia and Ethiopia
Kenyan police officers called Noor out of his cell at around 4:00 a.m. on January 20. He expected to be released. Instead, he was driven to the Nairobi airport, where he joined some 30 others and was forced to board a large white plane. Said Noor:
We were handcuffed behind our backs with white plastic cuffs that were very painful. Our shoes were removed and we were pushed into the plane. Our legs were tied and we were tied down to the seat of the plane. I saw one man being beaten-officers were kicking him, punching him, and holding him down. I don't know why.
Noor said he had no idea where they were going until they landed in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. They were met by the very forces that Noor had fled a little more than a year before-the Ethiopian military.
"I thought that the Ethiopian forces would shoot and kill me," Noor said. "I was so scared."
The Ethiopian military led him and the others to a big open space near the sea, where they spent several hours in the hot sun with no water. All 30 were then herded into a dusty room in the airport.
Three days later, Noor was called out of his room, along with Canadian-Ethiopian Bashir Makhtal, 11 Oromos, and three Eritreans. They were again handcuffed and taken to what looked like an Ethiopian military plane-again, with no knowledge of where they were going or why. Several hours later, they landed in Addis Ababa.
Interrogations and Torture in Ethiopia
Noor spent four months in Maekalawi prison-the central investigation department in the center of Addis Ababa-in a cell with several others, with no fresh air and no natural light.
Every few days, members of the Ethiopian military called Noor out for interrogation. He said the questions were almost always the same:
They asked me: "Are you a terrorist? Are you part of the Islamic Courts Union? Are you part of ONLF?" When I said no, they told me they would chop me into little pieces if I did not confess. But I refused to confess to something I am not.
Then they would start to beat me. They beat me from head to toe. They used a stick made from a tree called bahrasaf that is known for its hardness. The stick was about two feet long, two to three inches wide. They also used the butt of their gun. They beat me on my upper arms, on my legs, on the back of my head, on the bottom of my feet. At one point they broke my foot by my pinky toe. Sometimes it is still so painful that I cannot sleep. They would tie my hands behind my back and force me to lean against the wall. If I fell over, then they would beat me on my side that was exposed.
If they thought I was too strong, they would target my testicles. Then I would usually fall unconscious. I often urinated blood. Even now, I still sometimes have drops of blood in my urine. I haven't had an erection since that time.
Noor said that the interrogations and beatings usually lasted 30 minutes or more. They happened every few days. He said that one time he was interrogated and beaten almost continuously for two full days.
Sometime in June 2007, the Ethiopian military transported Noor to a military base in Ambo, in Oromia, central Ethiopia, where he joined several other Somalis and Oromos who were already there.
After a few months, plainclothes interrogators who reportedly came from Addis Ababa showed up to do their own interrogations. Noor said that the first time they just took pictures and fingerprints and asked questions, without any beatings.
But a month later they came back:
They started with the same questions: "Are you a terrorist? Are you al Qaeda? Are you part of the Islamic Courts Union? Are you ONLF?" When I said no to all, they put a pistol to my head and told me to confess or I'd be shot dead. They didn't shoot, but started beating and kicking me.
Once I picked up a stick and repelled the hand of an interrogator who was about to strike me. They then started beating me all over my body-my head, my hands, my side, my back. Eventually I fainted. When I awoke, an interrogator who spoke Somali came to help. He took me to get fresh air and water. He then took me to a room, gave me a document with lots of pages and told me to fingerprint each page. I cannot read or write, and no one told me what the document said.
Noor said that he was forced to put his fingerprints on three documents during his time in captivity. He claimed that he was never told what any of them said.
Release and Return to Kenya
Sometime in late January 2008, Ethiopian military officers told the Ambo prisoners that they were all being sent home. A day later, a large group of Oromos were reportedly released. Ethiopian authorities then loaded the 28 remaining Ethiopian Ogadenis and Somali nationals into a vehicle and drove them over the Somali border to Baidoa.
All 28 were then handed to military officers working for Somalia's Transitional Federal Government. A general came and addressed them. He told them that he was sorry, that he realized the arrests were mistakes, and that they would be free. When someone asked if they could have a letter acknowledging their innocence, he said no. When someone else asked if they could have money or transport home, he again said no. They were then released into the town of Baidoa, without food or money, or any way to get back home.
Several local residents took them in, clothed them, fed them, and helped Noor and several others get enough money together to make the trip back to Dobley, near Kenya's border.
Noor showed up at his half-sister's home in late February, some 14 months after he originally left. "She was shocked," Noor said. "She thought I was dead."
After a few weeks his half-sister once again told him she could no longer afford to keep him there and urged him to go to Kenya for medical care. He crossed the border once again-headed for the same refugee camp he had tried to reach over a year earlier. He has been living there since March 2008, still limping and urinating blood.
"See this stone?" Noor asked, unwrapping the plastic around a small pebble he pulled out of his shirt pocket. "I took this stone when I left the prison in Ethiopia. This is my remembrance. No human rights group, no journalist, no family member, no government ever came to visit me. I can't read or write. This is my only proof that I was arrested, held, and tortured there."
Salim Awadh Salim
Salim Awadh Salim, a 36-year-old Kenyan, is to date being held without charge in an Ethiopian prison in Addis Ababa-some 20 months after he was arrested.
According to Salim's wife, Fatima Chande, they traveled from Kenya to Somalia in 2006 looking for work. When after about five months the fighting in Somalia intensified, he and Fatima decided to return to Kenya.
They joined several others-including a young woman named Halima-as they made their way across the border and into the southern Kenyan town of Kiunga. As they later learned, Halima Badroudine is the wife of Fazul Abdullah Muhammad, a terrorist suspect long wanted by the United States for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
The day after their arrival in Kiunga, the local chief told them that they needed to register with the police. The group of eight, including four children, went to the police station as instructed. But instead of registering them, the officer in charge ordered their arrest.
Four days later, Kenyan authorities transported all eight men, women, and children to Nairobi. Men and women were separated into different cells. Plainclothes officers who were believed to work for the Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police Unit interrogated them. At one point, the officers reportedly forced Salim to strip naked as he was interrogated about his alleged connection to Fazul Abdullah Muhammad.
On January 27, 2007, Kenyan authorities called both Salim and Fatima out of their cells, blindfolded and handcuffed them, took them to the airport, and forced them onto a plane with approximately 40 others. They did not know where they were going until they landed in Mogadishu. Men and women were separated and held in rooms guarded by Ethiopian soldiers.
Ten days later, they were flown by military plane to Baidoa. They spent a night sleeping on the ground near the plane, before being flown to Addis Ababa the next morning.
At first, Salim and Fatima were held in the same detention center. But within a week or so, Salim was moved to solitary confinement in what has been described as a secret house run by Ethiopians. Ethiopian officers cuffed his hands behind his back and tied his legs together whenever he was in the cell.
Each morning, Ethiopian officers took him to another secret house for interrogations. There, US interrogators questioned him about his background, his travels to Somalia, and the terrorist suspect, Fazul Abdullah Muhammad.
After two months, Ethiopian officers returned Salim to the old police station where Fatima was being held.
Ethiopian authorities released Fatima in April 2007. As she was leaving, Salim asked her to pray for him and said that he hoped to join her within a week.
Around that time, the pace of interrogations of Salim slowed. Daily interrogations became weekly interrogations, and then bi-monthly. In May 2007, his US interrogators reportedly told him that they believed him, that they realized he was telling the truth, and that he would soon be released. That was his last interrogation.
A few days later, eight other Kenyans were told that they were going to be released and moved out of his cell. Salim spent close to a year alone, thinking that the others had all been sent home to Kenya. A former detainee who last saw Salim in June 2007, described him as "frail, extremely depressed, and starting to lose all hope."
In May 2008, seven of the Kenyans were returned to his cell, where they are now being held together. They had never been released.
None have ever been permitted a visit by family members or a humanitarian organization such as the ICRC, granted access to a lawyer, or ever charged with a crime.
"All the other foreigners that we were held with here have been released. No one cares about us," said Salim. "Please help us."
Yusuf, a 30-year-old father of four, was working for the United Nations in Somalia when he was arrested by the Ethiopian military in January 2007. He spent 13 months in Ethiopian custody, where he alleges that he was brutally beaten and tortured before his release in February 2008.
On January 2, 2007, Yusuf and his driver Ahmed were on their way to the Somali town of Kismayo when they were stopped by an Ethiopian military convoy of about 15 trucks. According to Yusuf, at first the officers said they wanted directions and an escort to a nearby town. But soon they started accusing both Yusuf and Ahmed of membership in al Qaeda.
Yusuf told Human Rights Watch that the Ethiopian soldiers demanded that he and Ahmed get out of their car. Ethiopian officers stripped Yusuf down to his underwear and a vest, and beat and kicked him until he fell unconscious. When he regained consciousness, he was tied up under a tree with Ahmed, with fighting going on all around them.
After several days, they were taken to the airport in Kismayo and then flown to Addis Ababa, where they spent almost three months in a shared prison cell.
Their conditions then sharply deteriorated. In March 2007, they were taken to a military base in Awassa, about four hours south of Addis Ababa. For five months they lived in an underground cell, with no light and no fresh air. Food generally consisted of two biscuits a day. Yusuf described a pattern of beatings and abuse:
Often at night, the military officers would come to our cell and hit our heads and bodies against the wall. Sometimes they would hit and kick me in the testicles.
One time they put a knife in my shoulder and told me I was al Qaeda. When I said no, I wasn't, they would move the knife around in my shoulder. I was so weak and malnourished that I hardly even bled. But my shoulder still hurts from that injury.
Sometime in July or August 2007, Yusuf and Ahmed were moved once again-this time to Ambo. Although a number of other Somalis were being held in Ambo at the same time, Yusuf and Ahmed were kept in a separate, underground cell.
According to Yusuf, the interrogations continued:
The interrogators kept insisting that I was transporting chemical weapons for al Qaeda. I didn't know what they were talking about. Finally, they showed me the first aid kit they had taken out of my car when I was first arrested. They took out the flares used for emergencies. They were the plastic kind, with liquid inside, that created large floodlights when broken in two. When I tried to explain, they beat me. Finally, I convinced them to let me show them that they were just lights. But even after that, they still said I was al Qaeda.
Another time they cracked the butt of a gun over my head. When I started to faint, a different officer held me up and told me I was a terrorist. I still have the scars from that beating.
On January 26, 2008, Ethiopian officers told Yusuf and Ahmed that they were going home. The officers took Yusuf and Ahmed outside where they joined the 26 other Somalis being held in Ambo. It was the first time that they had seen the others. It was also the first time they had seen daylight in months. Yusuf said:
My eyes could not adjust to light. Everything was so blurry. It hurt to look. They tried to feed us, but I couldn't even eat. I was so weak. I could barely stand.
On February 5, Ethiopian authorities turned over Yusuf, Ahmed, and the other Somalis to Somali military officers. A general from the Transitional Federal Government apologized to them, told them they were innocent, and ordered their release. None of them had any money, food, or clothes, other than what they were wearing.
A hotel owner let Yusuf and Ahmed stay at his place, agreeing to accept payment later. Yusuf borrowed a phone, and called home. It was the first time his family had heard from him since his arrest. A few days later, UN officials helped arrange his transport home.
Kamilya Mohamed Tuwein
Kamilya Mohamed Tuwein, a 43-year-old mother of three from Dubai, traveled with two business partners to Nairobi on January 9, 2007, in the hopes of securing a deal to supply diesel from Kenya to Tanzania. Their meetings were delayed until January 11, so they went to Malindi in Kenya to pass their two free days.
On January 10, Kenyan security agents showed up at their hotel and raided their rooms. They returned again that evening, ordered the three to pack their things, and took them to the police station. When Tuwein asked why they were arrested, the police would not answer.
The next day, Kenyan security officers drove Tuwein, her two business partners, and four others to Nairobi. "When we arrived at Nairobi police headquarters, the police greeted us by saying, 'Welcome, al Qaeda,'" Tuwein said.
The police officers took Tuwein's cell phone and passport and interrogated her for more than three hours about her alleged al Qaeda connections. They took her to another police station, where she spent 17 nights in a women's cell that she described as smelly, dirty, and awful. She told Human Rights Watch:
We kept asking to speak to our embassies. They said, "When the right time comes." At one point, one of the police commanders told us if we paid a 35,000 shilling (US$500) bribe, we would be set free.
One of the other women's daughters hired a lawyer after they had all been held in the cell for about two weeks. The lawyer filed a habeas petition, but before Tuwein could be brought to court, she was rendered to Somalia.
On January 28, 2007, Kenyan officials took Tuwein to the airport and forced her onto a government-chartered airplane headed for Mogadishu, without telling her where she was going or why. It was her first time in Somalia.
After arrival in Mogadishu, Ethiopian soldiers separated the male passengers from the women and children. They took the women and children-about 22 in total-to a crowded, windowless room in the airport, where the group was held for 10 days. Several of the other women were pregnant.
On February 5, Ethiopian soldiers took the entire group from the airport room and loaded them onto a military plane. They spent one night in Baidoa, before being taken to Addis Ababa the next morning. Tuwein was put in a cell with three other women-including Halima Badroudine, the wife of Fazul Abdullah Muhammad, and Fatima Chande, the wife of Salim Awadh Salim-and four children.
"They didn't even let me call home, to let my children know I was alive," Tuwein explained. "Finally I stopped eating. I went on a hunger strike for three days. All I wanted was to be able to make a phone call."
After about two weeks, Ethiopian authorities took Tuwein and six other women to a villa outside of town-about a 45-minute drive. She told Human Rights Watch that a bearded, Caucasian, English-speaking man, who said that he was from a US government agency, took her fingerprints and photos, and asked her several questions once she arrived at the villa.
In the evening, the Ethiopian officials returned Tuwein and the others to their prison cells in Addis Ababa. Tuwein told Human Rights Watch that she was only taken to the villa one time, but that Fazul Abdullah Muhammad's wife, Halima, was transported there daily for a week.
Tuwein was released in March 2007, three months after she was first arrested. She was never visited by an embassy representative, an independent humanitarian agency such as the ICRC, or a lawyer at any point during her custody in Kenya, Somalia, or Ethiopia. She was not allowed to make a phone call home until the day that she was released.
Abdi is a 40-year-old ethnic Somali from the Ogaden area of eastern Ethiopia, now living in a Kenyan refugee camp along the Somali border.
Abdi left the Ogaden region in 2004, and moved to Dobley, a border town about 30 kilometers from Liboi, one of the main crossing points into Kenya. He regularly traveled back and forth to Kenya to buy and sell goods.
Around December 28, 2006, Abdi joined a group of seven men-including Canadian-Ethiopian national Bashir Makhtal-headed for the border. Abdi said that he was planning to stay in Kenya only briefly before returning to his home in Dobley. But before they reached the Kenyan-side transit center, they were intercepted by Kenyan police. The police ordered them out of their car and into a police vehicle, and drove them to a nearby police station.
"I protested. I crossed the border all the time," Abdi told Human Rights Watch. "But they didn't respond to me, and I was taken."
The next day, Kenyan police moved them to the regional headquarters in Garissa, where they were held for five nights in a congested cell and interrogated by plainclothes police. Said Abdi:
They interviewed me twice and asked the same things: where I was from, where I grew up, whether or not I had any links with the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). At the end of the second interview, a Somali-speaking officer told me that there was no evidence I had any connections with the ICU, but that I would be charged with being illegally in Kenya.
On January 15, 2007, Kenyan police bundled Abdi and several others onto police vehicles and drove them to Nairobi. Five days later, on January 20, security officers called Abdi out of his cell and drove him to the airport, where about 30 other detainees had already been assembled. Officers herded them onto an African Express Airways plane, cuffed their hands behind their back and tied their legs to the seat. The plane landed in the Mogadishu airport, surrounded by Ethiopian military.
After four nights, Ethiopian military officers drove Abdi and several others to Baidoa, where they were put into a tent with some 80 others, mostly ethnic Oromos. According to Abdi, he was then subjected to interrogations and torture:
Every day interrogators would call different people out for interrogations. After two weeks, the interrogators-an Ethiopian and a Somali interpreter-called me. They said I was a member of the Islamic Courts Union, a war criminal, a terrorist plotter. I told them they were wrong. They started torturing me.
They pulled out my toenails. They beat me with a wooden stick on my hands, on the tops of my feet, on my knees, on the left side of my face. Eventually I fainted. Other detainees told me that the interrogators dragged me back to the tent, still unconscious.
The next day, Ethiopian military officers loaded Abdi and several others onto military vehicles for a three-day journey to Awassa, Ethiopia. The left side of Abdi's face become swollen from the beatings and affected his vision. He said:
I started to feel like I had a big ball in my head. One morning, I couldn't see. I asked for a light. Everyone started laughing because it was morning and bright. For the next three months, I couldn't see at all. My fellow prisoners helped me with everything-eating, going to the toilet, everything. I wouldn't have survived without them.
Eventually, military officers took pity on Abdi and took him to a doctor who gave him some drops for his eyes. Slowly, he started to recover vision in his right eye. It took almost a year for him to be able to see light out of his left eye.
"Even now, I can't see clearly out of my left eye," Abdi said. "I only see vague shapes and color."
In July 2007, Ethiopian authorities again moved Abdi, this time to Ambo, where he was held with several Oromos and Somalis-including Ishmael Noor. The interrogations continued, carried out by plainclothes officers who reportedly came from Addis Ababa. "The questions were always the same," Abdi said. "They asked about my biography. They wanted me to say that I was a member of the ICU or ONLF. When I wouldn't agree, they would beat me."
Abdi was released in February 2008, one of the 28 men taken to Baidoa and handed over to military officers belonging to Somalia's Transitional Federal Government. He has since moved his entire family to a refugee camp in Kenya, close to the Somali border:
I was in jail for 13 months and six nights. I was never allowed a phone call home. I was never taken to court. I was never seen by the ICRC or any rights group. I never received any sympathy or help from any government or any individuals. Now I have no peace. I am scared.
Swaleh Ali Tunza
Swaleh Ali Tunza is a 40-year-old Kenyan who has been held without charge by the Ethiopians since January 2007.
According to family members and an eyewitness, Kenyan officials arrested Tunza in Kiunga in early January 2007 and secretly flew him to Mogadishu on January 28, where he was handed over to Ethiopian authorities, and ultimately transported to Addis Ababa.
For two months, Ethiopian authorities held him incommunicado in solitary confinement, in a small two-by-two-meter cage-like cell made of corrugated iron. In the mornings, they regularly took him to a villa to be interrogated by US officials. In the evenings, they returned him to his cell and allegedly handcuffed him in a painful position.
Tunza told Human Rights Watch that the US officials showed him photographs of people for him to identify. They accused him of connections to the ICU and terrorism and questioned him about alleged associations. His hands were frequently cuffed behind his back in painful positions. At least once, Ethiopian guards reportedly forced him to stand for hours on a stone block in between interrogations.
In April 2007, the interrogations ended. The Ethiopian officials moved Tunza out of solitary confinement into a cell with others. A month later, they told him he would be released-only to move him and seven other Kenyans to a separate place of detention.
In February 2008, Ethiopian police officers broke Tunza's leg just above his ankle during a beating following the escape of one of the other detainees. Tunza said that although he spent almost a month in the hospital, his leg never properly healed, and is now swollen and causes constant pain. Tunza worried that his leg may ultimately need to be amputated.
In the 21 months Tunza has been in Ethiopian custody, he has never been charged with a crime, never visited by a lawyer or a humanitarian agency, and never allowed to speak with his family.
His brother told Human Rights Watch, "I miss him so much. Our family needs him."
Hamid, 42 years old, heard that the Islamic Courts Union had brought peace to Mogadishu, and decided to travel there in late 2006. But when the Mogadishu airport was bombed on December 25, he became scared for his safety and joined a group of about 30 people, including several who were sick or injured, going to Kenya.
On January 8, 2007, Ethiopian military forces fired upon the group near the Kenyan border. Hamid and others escaped into the forest where they hid for the night. The next day, Ethiopian soldiers captured Hamid as he went to collect water. They gagged, bound, and beat him, and then airlifted him by helicopter to Ras Kamboni, a Somali town near the Kenyan border.
Upon arrival in Ras Kamboni, Ethiopian military forces drove him about 20 minutes to an area that Hamid described as an "American outpost." According to Hamid, three US officials-two white men and a black man-questioned him about what he was doing in Somalia and told him he had better cooperate or they would hand him over to the Ethiopians.
After about three hours, the US officials did in fact hand him to the Ethiopians, who flew him to Kismayo, where he was kept for three days before being taken to Baidoa and then Addis Ababa.
Upon arrival in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian authorities took Hamid to a private house, where he was put in a room by himself, with his hands cuffed behind his back and legs shackled at all times he was in the cell. (He later learned that Salim Awadh Salim was held there as well.) Hamid described the detention facility:
They would often play music all day and night because they knew we didn't like to hear music. They kept the lights on and would poke their heads in at any time. The handcuffs were made of rope and tied so tight. It was so painful. In fact, I still have scars from where the rope cut into my skin. But they also brought us really good food. I think they wanted us to be well-fed so that we would be helpful during the interrogations.
Just about every morning, the Ethiopian guards took him to a villa for interrogations. Usually he was taken to a villa with US officials, where he was asked to identify people in photos and all kinds of questions about what he was doing in Somalia. "I knew they were Americans because they talked about contacting the White House," Hamid said. Hamid reported being taken to other villas where he was interrogated by other foreign intelligence officials as well.
After about a month, Hamid went on a hunger strike, demanding to be taken to court. In March 2007, he was brought before a military court with several others. The judge told them that the court would determine whether they were prisoners of war or illegal combatants. His request for a lawyer was denied. At the next court session a month later, the military prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence and that they needed to do further investigation. He was never brought back to court.
Hamid told Human Rights Watch that sometime around April 2007, the Ethiopian military moved him from the private house to an old police station on Haile Salassie road where he remained in solitary confinement, held in a two-by-two-meter cage. Then, in May he was moved to a cell with several others, and eventually released in June.
"Nobody knew what happened to me," Hamid said. "I thought I would never see my family again. I thought about committing suicide. Now I am just so happy to be free."
 The account in this section is based on a Human Rights Watch interview with Ishmael Noor, Ifo Refugee Camp, Kenya, July 24, 2008. Ishmael Noor is a pseudonym.
 Unless otherwise specified, the account in this section is based on a Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Salim Awadh Salim, August 27, 2008.
 Human Rights Watch interview with Fatima Chande, Moshi, Tanzania, April 28, 2007.
 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with former detainee, September 9, 2008 (name withheld).
 The account in this section is based on a Human Rights Watch interview with Ali Yusuf, Nairobi, Kenya, July 28, 2008. Ali Yusuf is a pseudonym.
 The account in this section is based on a Human Rights Watch interview with Kamilya Mohammed Tuwein, Dubai, UAE, April 4, 2007.
 The account in this section is based on a Human Rights Watch interview with Suleiman Abdi, Ifo Refugee Camp, Kenya, July 23, 2008. Suleiman Abdi is a pseudonym.
 Unless otherwise specified, the account in this section is based on a Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Swaleh Ali Tunza, August 27, 2008.
 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Abdallah Ali Tunza, brother of Swaleh Ali Tunza, September 4, 2008.
 The account in this section is based on Human Rights Watch telephone interviews with Abdullah Hamid, August 17 and August 19, 2007, and September 9, 2008. Abdullah Hamid is a pseudonym. His nationality has been withheld at his request.