Ethiopian Women Incarcerated

Two Ethiopian Jewish women have been held in an Addis Ababa jail since February 1987, according to Amnesty International. The two women, Heruit Tekele and a woman whose last name is Atanaw, have been detained without charges or trial in the Central Investigation Center They are among over 30 Jewish prisoners being held in Addis Ababa and Gondar prisons.

Tekele, who is 42-years old, is reported to be pregnant, possibly a victim of rape, according to Ethiopian Jewish sources in the U.S. She has four children living in Israel and four still in Ethiopia.

Little is known about Atanaw, although her husband and three children are also being held in prison.

There are from 15,000 to 20,000 Jews still living in Ethiopia. More than 8,000 Jews managed to reach the Sudan by 1985, when they were air-lifted to Israel. (See Lilith #18) Emigration is officially illegal in Ethiopia.