published: 17 September 2019
The Eritrean government must release the 11 politicians and 17 journalists who were arrested in 2001 after criticising President Isaias Afwerki’s rule, and have never been seen or heard from since, Amnesty International said today as it launched an 18-day social media campaign marking the 18th anniversary of the arrests.
The 11 politicians were arrested for writing an open letter to President Afwerki urging him to respect the constitution by holding elections and upholding the rule of law, while the 17 journalists were arrested for reporting on the politicians’ letter. None of the 28 have been seen or heard from since nor have any of them been formally charged with any offence.
“It is a travesty that this appalling injustice persists almost two decades on, more so now that Eritrea is a member of the UN Human Rights Council,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
“This continued arbitrary detention shows the lengths President Isaias Afwerki’s government will go to in its unceasing attempts to crush dissent. Like hundreds of other prisoners of conscience in arbitrary detention in Eritrea, these 28 men and women are prisoners of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.”