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Ethiopian Officials Fail To Protect Their Citizens Detained In Saudi Arabia
February 10, 2012 International Christian Concern (Washington D.C.)-On December 15, six men and 29 women, all Ethiopian Christians, were holding their weekly prayer meeting when Saudi Arabian security forces arrested them. The Christian prisoners voiced their complaint about the Ethiopian embassy’s failure to protect their interests.
“An Ethiopian diplomat recently came to visit us. We told him about our disappointment for not visiting us so far. We told him how they failed to provide us with ways to get access to clean water and clothes to change (other embassies provide for their imprisoned citizens). He promised to come back and meet us again on February 4th. We waited for him to come but he never came. The embassy is not giving us proper attention,” said a female prisoner who spoke with ICC from Briman jail in Jeddah.
Speaking to ICC, Ambassador Merwan Bedri, Ethiopia’s General Counsel in Jeddah, said, “My colleague tried to meet with the male prisoners twice but was unable to meet them. He has visited the female prisoners and held discussion with them. We have been raising the issue with the Saudi officials.”
In an interview with ICC one of the male prisoners accused Ambassador Bedri of failing to listen to their plight. The prisoner said, “When we recently phoned Merwan Bedri and told him about our plight, he hung up.”
The Ethiopian diplomats are not paying enough attention to the situation. When ICC asked him about a recent report about the Saudis pressuring the Christians to convert to Islam, Ambassador Bedri replied, “We have not heard about this incident. It has been four or five days since we visited the prisoners. We will investigate this report.”
ICC’s Jonathan Racho said, “Ethiopian officials in Jeddah are not giving proper attention to the plight of the imprisoned Christians. The prisoners are bitterly complaining about the failure by the Ethiopian officials to protect them. The main function of diplomats is to protect the interests of their citizens. The Ethiopian diplomats have failed in that regard. We urge all concerned individuals to speak on behalf of the unjustly imprisoned Christians.”
Please sign this petition asking for the release of the prisoners and call Saudi Arabian Embassies in your countries to ask for their release.
Saudi Embassy contacts: United States: (+1) 202 342 3800, Canada: (+1) 613 237 4100, UK: (+44) 207 9173-000, Australia: (+61) 2 6250 7000, Germany: (+49) 30 88 92 50, France: (+33) 1 56 79 4000, Ethiopia (+251) 1 710303.