Somalia closes underground prison amid abuse allegations

December 16, 2018 - 11:52 am

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Somalia's security minister said the government has closed an underground prison where extremist suspects and journalists have been held amid allegations of abuses against inmates.

Ahmed Abukar said that Godka Jilaow prison, which held hundreds of prisoners including suspected al-Shabab fighters, would be turned into a technical school. He said prisoners would be transferred elsewhere.

He said the prison, which was run by Somalia's intelligence agency, has been closed as part of efforts to improve Somalia's human rights record.

Human rights groups alleged that prisoners were tortured in the underground cells. The prison was used by dictator Siad Barre to jail his critics before he was deposed in 1991.

Many suspects have been held in the prison for years without charges, while others faced military trials, according to rights activists.

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