Kaliti Prison

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Kaliti Prison
Location Ethiopia
Coordinates 8°54′51″N 38°45′52″E / 8.914189°N 38.764308°E / 8.914189; 38.764308
Status Operational
Population Approximately 8,000[1] (as of 2012)
City Akaky Kaliti, a subcity within Addis Ababa, the capital
Notable prisoners
See text
Location of Kaliti Prison within Addis Ababa
Location within Akaky Kaliti, one of the subcities of Addis Ababa

Kaliti Prison (also spelt Kality Prison, Kilinto Prison or Qilinto Prison) in Addis Ababa is one of the several federal prisons of Ethiopia. Commonly referred to as a gulag, it serves as the main prison of the country.[2] It is 11 km south of central Addis Ababa, in Akaky Kaliti, the southernmost subcity of the nation's capital.[3]

The original prison compound is a makeshift structure that was built after 1991 when the Derg regime fell and was not intended as a prison. Most of the structures built by 2004 had been built by prisoners by their own means and with help from NGOs.[3]


Part of the prison consists of sheet-metal shacks arranged in a dense maze.[4]

Within the prison there are 8 zones (however zone 8 is not in use according to the recollection of Martin Schibbye). The group Zone 9 bloggers is named after a non-existent ninth zone.[5]

Around 2012, the prison held approximately 8,000 inmates.[1] A 2009 Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) report described overcrowding in the prison with hundreds of inmates being held in single, poorly ventilated cells. They reported that individuals were exposed to tuberculosis, fleas, lice, that there was a lack of sanitation, that water for drinking and washing was insufficient, that inmates had to sleep on cold, concrete floors, and that access to medical care was nearly absent. They also reported that "complaints against all these human rights violations being severely punishable".[6] Personnel at the prison are known to have tortured inmates.[7]

2016 fire[edit]

A fire broke out on 3 September 2016 and continued on until the next day. Prisoners attempted to escape during the chaos, and gunshots were heard. Two prisoners were claimed to have been killed trying to escape, while 21 other inmates were said to have perished from "stampede and suffocation". At least 23 people were killed in total.[8] The fire comes during the deadly nationwide 2016 Ethiopian protests, and may be related.[9]


Siye Abraha, a leader of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front.[10]

Notable inmates[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "438 Days Imprisoned in Ethiopia: Journalist Recounts Facing Arrest, Mock Execution & Terror Charges". Democracy Now!. 
  2. ^ "Thousands of Muslims in Ethiopia visit their representatives in Kaliti". awrambatimes.com. 
  3. ^ a b Chirwa, Vera M. (15–29 March 2004). Report of the Mission of the Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (PDF). African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. p. 12–13. 
  4. ^ a b Nancy Macdonald. "Beloved, and behind bars". Macleans.ca. 
  5. ^ Simona Foltyn (20 April 2015). "Ethiopian bloggers on trial in case seen as crackdown on free expression". Washington Post. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "438 Days Imprisoned in Ethiopia: Journalist Recounts Facing Arrest, Mock Execution & Terror Charges". , an interview with Martin Schibbye at Democracy Now!
  8. ^ "Ethiopia fire kills 23 at prison 'holding Oromo protesters'". BBC. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  9. ^ Atsbeha, Michael (5 September 2016). "23 die in Ethiopia prison fire over weekend, government says". WTOP. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "Partial list of Political prisoners from Kaliti, Kilinito, Maikelawi and Zuway Prisons of Ethiopia". Satenaw-Latest Ethiopian News & Breaking News. 
  11. ^ "Tewodros Kassahun aka Teddy Afro sets for first major concert in Addis Ababa Stadium". ethiogrio.com. 
  12. ^ "Oromo rights activist dies in Kaliti jail". addisvoice.com. 
  13. ^ "Befeqadu Hailu - THE ETHIOPIA OBSERVATORY". ethiopiaobservatory.com. 
  14. ^ "Eskinder Nega's letter from Kaliti Prison". debirhan.com. 
  15. ^ "Swedish journalist Martin Schibbye's personal story of life in Addis Ababa's notorious Kaliti prison". ayyaantuu.com. Archived from the original on 2014-07-02. 
  16. ^ "Kaliti Prison: An eye-witness account". ethiomedia.com. 
  17. ^ "438 Days Imprisoned in Ethiopia: Journalist Recounts Facing Arrest, Mock Execution & Terror Charges". zehabesha.com. 
  18. ^ "Ethiopia: Jailed hero journalist Woubshet Taye off to Zeway death camp". Ethiopia News and Politics. 
  19. ^ "Ethiopia: Torturing and ethnic slur on Amhara prisoners". Ethiopia News and Politics. 
  20. ^ "2013 list of political prisoners held at Kaliti" (PDF). Oromoliberationfront.org. Retrieved 2015-08-11. 
  21. ^ https://www.opride.com/2018/01/18/merera-gudina-welcomes-national-dialogue-says-ball-eprdfs-court/

External links[edit]