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Sep-26-2010 15:08printcomments

Eritrea: Journalist Hunted for 9 Years

“The European Union firmly calls for the unconditional release of these prisoners, and of all other persons detained for having peacefully expressed their views..” - Catherine Ashton, High Representative, EU

Eritrea

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Nine years have passed since the brutal political purge in Asmara, September 18, 2001, journalists and political opposition members were violently hunted and detained. Today Eritrean authorities continue to gag all forms of free expression and recently arrested another journalist as he was trying to flee the country.

“The European Union remains deeply concerned about the detention, since September 2001, of a group of 11 Members of Parliament and the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, along with 10 independent journalists. Very little is known on their health conditions. They are facing unlawful, incommunicado detention, without having been charged with any offence, in total contradiction with Eritrea’s international human rights obligations. The European Union deplores the persistent violation by Eritrea of its obligations, under domestic and international law, despite the repeated appeals by the international community” said Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union.

The fate of 20 imprisoned journalists is still cloaked in oppressive official silence. Sources indicate journalist Eyob Kessete of radio Dimtsi Hafash’s was arrested during the past summer as he was trying to cross the border into Ethiopia. It is not known where he is being held.

Still no news, journalist Said Abdulhai was arrested during the last week of March. Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaac of the closed daily Setit, was arrested September 23, 2001 in Asmara, it is unclear where he is being held.

The intolerance and paranoia of Eritrean leaders led to the September 2001 purge, the closure of all the privately-owned media and the arrests of newspaper publishers began a period of terror from which Eritrea still has not emerged. Today, there exists no independent media, foreign reporters are unwelcome and journalists working for state media must enthusiastically peddle government propaganda or flee the country.

Reporters without Borders, last week wrote to Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Department in an effort to open the dialogue on the investigation of Naizghi Kiflu, an Eritrean citizen resident in Britain. As information minister and presidential adviser during the 2001 onslaught, he should be arrested and prosecuted under article 134 of the 1988 Criminal Justice Act. In May 2008, the organization issued a report entitled “Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise” detailing his role in Eritrea’s repressive apparatus.

“The European Union is deeply concerned about recent unconfirmed reports that some of these persons could have died in detention. It calls on the Eritrean authorities to make public all information on the whereabouts of the political prisoners and to allow them access to their families and lawyers” Ms Ashton added “The European Union firmly calls for the unconditional release of these prisoners, and of all other persons detained for having peacefully expressed their views..”

Action: Sign the petition for the Release of journalists imprisoned in Eritrea

Source: Reporters without Borders & The European Council


Alysha Atma spends many hours working on projects that support and benefit the beleaguered people of African nations who spend way too much time off the western media's radar. This writer explains that she is a culmination of all her experiences, most importantly knowledge she says, and all that she still needs to learn; lessons of love, laughter and the extraordinary giving of both young and old. She says she has the enormous fortune of learning from the best; every person around her, and the amazing strength and fortitude of those she has never met but will always strive to listen to. "I continue to work and write because I believe in the power of community and the power of one, both contradictory to each other and yet can move together in a very powerful way. I feel a responsibility to use my place, freedoms and connections here in the US to stand up and yell for those who need my voice and actions. I have seen such strength in my fellow humans that I cannot even begin to comprehend, they have traveled distances, have gone without food, water, shelter and safety for days and weeks at a time. I have a responsibility as a fellow human to put our common humanity before anything else. Everyone deserves to look towards tomorrow, to dream of a safe future and to have a peaceful present." You can write to Alysha Atma at: alysha.atma@gmail.com




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Alysha October 1, 2010 4:39 pm (Pacific time)

I do apologize for taking so long in my reply. I must ask that those who wish me to write more about personal struggles or need for freedoms need only to write to me. My hope is to learn from you all, expose the many sides of truth and justice. We all must begin to speak to one another. Please know that your thoughts, suggestion and experiences are important to me. I hope to hear more from you and I encourage you to write me alysha.atma@gmail.com It is hear that we can begin to listen to one another and you may teach me far more about what is happening and what is needed to bring justice, peace and compassion to all.


Tedros September 30, 2010 10:23 am (Pacific time)

Very well said...I am deeply troubled the situation is even getting worse and worse by the day. We those sensible Eritreans need to think beyound the current upheaval and rescue our country from ever lasting disaster.


Eritrawi September 28, 2010 12:12 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you Alysha for writing the truth. Eritreans are under big stress under people who call themselves liberators. They have brought nothing but ignorance, poverty, lack of respect and hate of the people. Because of them, we have lost a generation of youth who would have made significant contribution to their families and their communities. It is sad that some people like to point out and blame at brave and compassionate journalists like and deliberately miss the truth. As a victim of PFDJ, I would like the situation is much much worse than this. Lots and lots of untold stories involving each refugee and people that are stranded. I just wnat to encourage you to write some more. It would be great if you could include stories of how the goverment blackmails and brainwashes people in the diaspora to extend its life line at the cost of their innocent brothers and sisters. An Eritrean Youth


AMANIEL September 26, 2010 5:59 pm (Pacific time)

thank you for writing concerning about African people. but, i wonder if it is deliberating or without knowledge.how come the journalist never wrote concerning the people when the ppl of Eritrea were thrown in the street because of the war. they had to start from the scratch in the mountain of Eritrea. do you journalists come to the aid of the people. they spend almost eight years there, in the mountain.now when the people and government of eritrea get a chance to build the country , you have to cone


Mhabmud September 26, 2010 8:52 pm (Pacific time)

Bravo you are one kind of human being who cares about justice.We Eritreans are expriencing brutality by the so called liberatorswhat makes them better than the dergue regime. They are Eritrean bandits who are dancing in our brithers and sisters grabe


AMANIEL September 26, 2010 6:04 pm (Pacific time)

thank you for writing concerning about African people. but, i wonder if it is deliberating or without knowledge.how come the journalist never wrote concerning the people when the ppl of Eritrea were thrown in the street because of the war. they had to start from the scratch in the mountain of Eritrea. do you journalists come to the aid of the people. they spend almost eight years there, in the mountain.now when the people and government of eritrea get a chance to build the country , you have to come and ruined it... i hope you will find the fact before write.

Editor: Try not to blame the messenger Amaniel, this is a writer in the US who cares greatly about the right things, don't suggest otherwise and expect to make a positive difference.


Alysha September 26, 2010 4:30 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you so much for you words, it is always good to hear your thoughts.


Dawit September 26, 2010 3:54 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you once again for bringing forth the right account about this brutal regime who is getting away with brutalizing Eritreans , and whose policy is taking Eritrea towards the brink of a none existing nation. At the center of this all problem we find the blind supporters of this "Mad Dog " of Asmara enabling and supporting the regime regardless the atrocities that is been committed against innocent Eritreans in front of their eyes . They are the worst we call Eritreans, and the blood of our suffering people is on their hands. They are beyond cowards who would betray their own loved once for their personal gains. . Where ever they may be in Diaspora, until these people are rooted our make no mistake about it, DIA will survive and will continue his repugnant path towards our people...

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