By Hadi Al-Fakieh
JEDDAH – Three Saudi nationals have gone on a hunger strike in a prison in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, in protest at being detained without charge for two weeks, a Saudi consular official said.
The three nationals were arrested during a security raid in search of a wanted criminal in a building adjacent to their residence. The Saudis are Abdullah Al-Qumishan, 35; Ahmad Al-Qumishan, 27; and Saeed Al-Qumishan, 22.
An investigation has found that the three Saudis were not involved in any criminal activity yet they are still being detained, said Khalil Adammaoui, head of the consular office at the Saudi Embassy in Addis Ababa.
The embassy has provided all legal assistance to the detainees and made daily visits to check on them. Communication with the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry has been ongoing to ensure the quick release of the three men, Adammaoui said. He added that he expected their release Sunday.
He also warned Saudi nationals to stay away from “suspected areas” and to seek the help of the embassy to identify safe places to stay. Wanted criminals from Ethiopia and Somalia are believed to find shelter in the small service rooms in the backyards of the houses rented by tourists from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf area.
Musa’ed Al-Qumishan, a cousin of the three men, said that the Ethiopian security officials told him that they were not found to be involved in any criminal activity. The officials, however, did not provide a reason for their long detention and declined to release them as instructed by the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, he said. The security officials said they wanted clearance of the three from the Ethiopian intelligence before their release, Al-Qumishan said.
The health of the three began to deteriorate with the end of the second week of their detention as they started the hunger strike, he added.
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