Briton held in 'orphan abuse' case

Date: 2001-09-04

A British man arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing boys in an Ethiopian orphanage is to be held in custody for another week.

The case against David Allen, who was arrested on 17 August at Bole International Airport, was adjourned by the High Court in Addis Ababa on Monday to allow police more time to investigate.

Mr Allen, a 59-year-old minicab driver from London, was told that the issue of bail could not be discussed unless he was formally charged with the offences.

'Sensitive matter'

Police asked for the adjournment saying the investigation was complicated and they needed more time to interview witnesses.

"This is a very sensitive and delicate matter and the victims had to be first approached through social workers," said an investigating police officer.

It is alleged that Mr Allen sexually abused boys between 1995 and 1998 while working at an orphanage run by a Swiss non-governmental organisation, the Terre des Hommes Foundation.

The orphanage is in Jarrie, 350 kms (217 miles) north of Addis Ababa.

Mr Allen left Ethiopia in 1998 after investigations into the allegations began, police said.

Losing weight

The investigating officer told reporters 19 orphans had already given testimony through social workers.

Mr Allen, who changed his name to David Christie after newspaper articles appeared about him, told the court he had lost an "enormous amount of weight" since his arrest and complained he could not eat the prison's food.

His defence attorney, Mr Nardos Lemma, told the court it was not necessary to detain Mr Allen, who "has only one lung and suffers from asthma".

The court ordered police to provide Mr Allen with a qualified doctor and any medication he might need.

The police were also ordered to complete their investigations and present a full report to the court on 10 September, the date scheduled for the next hearing.


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