Thursday, September 18, 2008

Eritrea: Yet Another Sad Anniversary

Today is the seventh anniversary of the arrest of Estifanos Seyoum, the Eritrean prisoner of conscience adopted by AI Group 22. He was detained in 2001 along with 10 other senior officials and 11 journalists in a general crackdown by the Eritrea government. None of these prisoners has ever been charged or tried. Some are reported to have died in prison but Eritrea refuses to reveal anything about them. Amnesty International issued the following statement to mark this sad occasion:
AI Index: AFR 64/007/2008 (Public)
Date: 18 September 2008

Eritrea: Prisoners of conscience remembered on 7th anniversary of mass detentions

Seven years ago, on 18 September 2001, the Government of Eritrea detained hundreds of former government leaders, private-media journalists and civil servants. Today, as we mark the seventh anniversary of this detention, most are still believed to be held in incommunicado detention.

Amnesty International considers these detainees to be prisoners of conscience, detained for the peaceful expression of their political views. The Eritrean government has never disclosed the location of those detained, and has repeatedly failed to provide a verifiable response to allegations that a number of those detained have died in detention, in spite of persistent appeals from Amnesty International members worldwide.

The Government of Eritrea is doing all that they can to ensure that these prisoners are forgotten. They are still denied family visits. No-one has been charged or brought to court. They are also believed to be denied medical treatment and are in many cases are likely to be detained in harsh conditions and subjected to torture, or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.
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