Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kenya: Ethiopians stage hunger strike in protest at their imprisonment

Sixty-five Ethiopians serving prison sentence in Kenya for being in the country illegally have staged a hunger strike, after complaining that their imprisonment was unfair, local media report here on Tuesday.

The Ethiopians who were last month jailed for three months have alleged unfair imprisonment by the government of Kenya.

In March, a court in Isiolo, northern Kenya ruled that the Ethiopians were arrested when they were found at the Archers Post road block in Samburu County illegally.

The prisoners, who said they did not know it was illegal to enter Kenya, pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay a fine of 200,000 Kenya shillings ($2,150) each or serve three months in jail before being deported to Ethiopia, Daily Nation newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, 74 other Ethiopians apprehended by police on Monday were arraigned in court, but their case could not proceed due to lack of an interpreter.

Over the years, Kenya has turned into a trafficking hub for Ethiopians, which is part of a lucrative human trafficking and smuggling business that has taken root along the Kenya-Ethiopia border.