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690 Ethiopian detainees released from UAE jails

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has secured the release of 1 000 Ethiopian prisoners held in Gulf State prisons for various offences. So far, about 690 of them have been flown back to Addis Ababa.

During his visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed obtained the commitment of UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman to release Ethiopian nationals being held in UAE jails.

It is said that 1 000 Ethiopian prisoners, 900 men and 100 women, are being held in the UAE. Of these, 690 flew back to Ethiopia at the same time as the Prime Minister’s return. The remaining number will be released from Jeddah and Jizan prisons and transferred to Addis Ababa in the very near future.

Abiy addressed a huge gathering at the Millennium Hall in the capital to celebrate the diplomatic victory his delegation achieved during his two-day visit.

“We demanded the release of our citizens and the Crown Prince [Mohammed bin Salman] responded positively.”

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The Prime Minister and his delegation also sought the release of Ethiopian-born Saudi tycoon Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi, who was among the hundreds of Saudi princes and tycoons incarcerated following Bin Salman’s anti-corruption and embezzlement drive.

Abiy expressed his sentiments on the release of the billionaire in his Addis Ababa address, saying, “The incarceration of one Ethiopian is the incarceration of all Ethiopians. Sheikh Al Amoudi’s arrest is top of the agenda for all Ethiopians. We have made the request – we are sure that he will be released very soon.”

Officials in Riyadh have indicated that most of the anti-corruption detainees have been released, after heavy settlements from members of the elite, adding up to more than US$100 billion.

Furthermore, the prime minister paid a visit to a young Ethiopian victim of botched surgery that was conducted in a Riyadh hospital. Fitsum Arega, the prime minister’s chief of staff, disclosed to Africa News that Saudi Arabia had agreed to fully compensate the parents of young Mohammed and facilitate his return to Ethiopia for further treatment.

Riyadh is currently processing the deportation of more than 500 000 illegal Ethiopian migrants, of which 160 000 have already arrived back in their home country.

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