FJA Shortlist 2021
Category: Outstanding Investigative Reporting
Authors: Zecharias Zelalem (Ethiopia/ Canada), Will Brown (UK/ Kenya)
Investigation: African Migrants 'Left to Die' in Saudi Arabia’s Hellish Covid Detention Centres
The Daily Telegraph - August 30, 2020
The original publication is available via the following link:
Investigation: African migrants 'left to die' in Saudi Arabia’s hellish Covid detention centres
'The guards just throw the bodies out back as if it was trash,' said one
Saudi Arabia, one of the wealthiest countries on earth, is keeping hundreds if not thousands of African migrants locked in heinous conditions reminiscent of Libya’s slave camps as part of a drive to stop the spread of Covid-19, an investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has found.
Graphic mobile phone images sent to the newspaper by migrants held inside the detention centres show dozens of emaciated men crippled by the Arabian heat lying shirtless in tightly packed rows in small rooms with barred windows.
One photo shows what appears to be a corpse swathed in a purple and white blanket in their midst. They say it is the body of a migrant who had died of heatstroke and that others are barely getting enough food and water to survive.
Another image, too graphic to publish, shows a young African man hanged from a window grate in an internal tiled wall. The adolescent killed himself after losing hope, say his friends, many of whom have been held in detention since April.
The migrants, several displaying scars on their backs, claim they are beaten by guards who hurl racial abuse at them. “It’s hell in here. We are treated like animals and beaten every day,” said Abebe, an Ethiopian who has been held at one of the centres for more than four months.
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