ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) — Ethiopia has issued an arrest warrant for fugitive ex-spy chief, Getachew Assefa over alleged human rights abuses, state media outlet Ethiopia News Agency reported on Friday.

Assefa had served as chief of the Ethiopia National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) until June. NISS has in recent years been accused of torturing and killing dissidents and rebels.

Assefa is accused along with his former deputy Yared Zerihun of committing human rights abuses including unlawful detention of individuals, detaining individuals in secret locations without charges and torturing detainees. Zerihun was arrested on Wednesday after several days on the run and was brought before court for preliminary criminal hearings on Friday.

The issuing of arrest warrant for Assefa and arrest of Zerihun is part of a crackdown by the Ethiopian government targeting security officials accused of mass corruption and human rights abuses.

On Monday, Berhanu Tsegaye, Ethiopia’s Attorney General said 63 intelligence and army officers have been arrested over accusations of corruption and human rights abuses during a six year period from 2011 to 2017.

“Some of the suspects have already been presented before court, while we are currently searching for other fugitive suspects,” said Tsegaye.

He said some of the fugitive suspects are believed to be hiding inside the country, while others are suspected to have escaped to foreign countries.

The arrest of the suspects is part of the promise the new administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed which assumed office in April made to the public to restore law and order and crack down on high level corruption.

 

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