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Eritrea

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This is one of the worst countries in the world to exercise freedom of speech. Since 2001 when the government clamped down on the press, independent media are either nonexistent or barely able to operate. No private newspapers have been allowed to operate and no political organisation, other than the ruling People's Front for Democracy and Justice, is allowed to exist.

ARTICLE 19 is working with Eritrean journalists to increase their capacity to advocate effectively and to defend the universal right to freedom of expression.

Profiles of some imprisoned Eritrean Journalists

Seyoum Tsehaye

Seyoum was director of Eritrean state television, freelance editor and photographer. Seyoum was arrested by the Eritrean security forces on the 21st of September 2001, under the pretext of “undermining national security and sovereignty”.  Since his arrest, Seyoum has been held incommunicado without charges and trial. He was 49 years old at the time of his arrest. Seyoum is married and has 2 children.

Said Abdulkader

Said Abdulkader   was co-founder and chief editor of “Admas”, a Tigringya independent newspaper. Said Abdulkader was arrested by the Eritrean security forces on the 20th of September 2001, under the pretext of “undermining national security and sovereignty”.  Abdulkader is reported to have died while in detention on March 14, 2004, due to torture and harsh prison conditions. He was 34 years old at the time of his arrest.

Amanuel Asrat

Amanuel was a poet a chief editor of Zemen, a Tigringya independent newspaper. Amanuel was arrested by the Eritrean security forces on the 18th of September 2001, under the pretext of “undermining national security and sovereignty”.  Since his arrest, Amanuel has been held incommunicado without charges and trial. Age: unknown.

Temesgen Ghebreyesus
 
Temesgen was a journalist and a member of the board of directors for Keste Debena, a Tigringya independent newspaper. Temesgen was arrested by the Eritrean security forces on the 20th of September 2001, under the pretext of “undermining national security and sovereignty”.  Since his arrest, Temesgen has been held incommunicado without charges and trial. He was 36 years old at the time of his arrest. He is married and has one son.

Medhanie Haile

Medhanie was a poet and co-founder and assistant editor of Keste Debena, a Tigringya independent newspaper. Medhanie was arrested by the Eritrean security forces on the 18th of September 2001, under the pretext of “undermining national security and sovereignty”.  Medhanie is reported to have died on February 2006, due to torture and harsh prison conditions. He was 33 years old at the time of his arrest.

Dawit Habtemichael,

Dawit was co-founder and deputy editor of Meqaleh, a Tigringya independent newspaper. Dawit was arrested by the Eritrean security forces on the 21st of September 2001, under the pretext of “undermining national security and sovereignty”.  Dawit is reported to have died while in detention in the second half of 2010 due to torture, harsh prison and denial of access to medical care to his deteriorating mental. He was 30 years old at the time of his arrest.

Mattewos Habteab

Mattewos was co-founder and editor of Meqaleh, a Tigringya independent newspaper. Mattewos was arrested by the Eritrean security forces on the 18th of September 2001, under the pretext of “undermining national security and sovereignty.  Mattewos  is reported to have died while in detention on the 19th of July, 2007 due to torture, harsh prison conditions and illness. He was 35 years old at the time of his arrest.

Yusuf Mohamed Ali,

Yusuf Mohamed Ali was editor-in-chief of the Tsegenay independent newspaper (in Tigrinya language). He was arrested by the Eritrean security forces under the pretext of undermining “national security and sovereignty” in his Office in Asmara, on the 19th of September 2001. Yusuf is reported to have died in June 13, 2006, due to torture and harsh prison conditions. He was 46 years old at the time of his arrest.

Fessehaye "Joshua" Yohannes (Johannes),

Joshua is journalist, poet and playwright. He was the co-founder and editor of the Tigrinya Setit newspaper, Eritrea’s first independent newspaper. Joshua was arrested in the period 18-23 September 2001 in Asmara, Eritrea. He is reported to have died while in prison on January 11, 2007 due to torture and harsh prison conditions. As it is the case with other journalists the government claims that Joshua is in prison for undermining national security and sovereignty.  He was 43 years old at the time of his arrest, married with 2 sons.

Dawit Isaac

Dawit Isaak is a Swedish-Eritrean playwright, journalist and writer. He was the co-founder of the Tigrinya Setit newspaper, Eritrea’s first independent newspaper. Isaak was arrested on 23 September 2001 in his home, Asmara, Eritrea and has been held incommunicado since 2001 without trial.

Saleh Al Jezaeeri

Saleh was a reporter for the Arabic section, Eritrean state radio, as well as for a government Arabic news paper,’ Eritrea alhaditha’. He was arrested by the Eritrean security forces on the in February 2002 for unknown reason.  Since his arrest, Saleh has been held incommunicado without charges and trial. Age: unknown.

Hamid Mohammed Said

Hamid was news and sports editor at the Arabic section, Eritrean state television. Hamid was arrested by the Eritrean government in February 2002 for unknown reason.  Since his arrest, hamid has been held incommunicado without charges and trial. He was 39 years old at the time of his arrest.

Click here to read Eritrea Press Releases