Home | News    Sunday 2 September 2012

Watchdog: Eritrean journalists die in prison


 By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

September 1, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) – Three Eritrean journalists who have been detained for over a decade in Eritrea have died, the Paris-based media watchdog, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) claimed in a report published on 30 August.

JPEG - 11.7 kb
Detained Eritrean journalist, Dawit Issac (BBC)

The three journalists had been held in prison since 2001 when President Issayas Afewerki’s government launched a crackdown against independent press, leading to the arrest of dozens of prominent journalists and dissidents as well as the closure of independent news outlets.
The latest reports, according to RSF are based on weeks of investigating reports from sources inside Eritrea and from prison guards who fled the country.
“Reporters without Borders have been able to confirm that three more journalists - Dawit Habtemichael, Mattewos Habteab and Wedi Itay - have died in the northeastern prison camp of Eiraeiro," the group said without specifying the exact day they died.
Eiraeiro prison facility has an average temperature of 40 degrees Celsius and prisoners are held inside metal shipping containers. The camp is said to have been designed to cause a slow and painful death.
The group further said a fourth journalist arrested earlier in 2009, whose identity has not been confirmed, has also reportedly died at a military detention near the capital, Asmara.
Eritrea is among world’s top press freedom violators and Africa’s most prolific jailer of journalists.
Currently at least 30 Eritrean journalists remain locked behind bars where they face inhuman and ill treatment on daily bases. They were arrested for publishing articles critical of government.
"In Eritrea, journalists have been thrown in prison just for daring to express their opinions. Some have been held for more than 10 years and are disappearing one by one. Located in the northeast of the country, Eiraeiro is not a prison, it is a death camp", Reporters Without Borders said.
Since Eritrea officially gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after 30 years of war with Ethiopia President Afewerki has led progessively more repressive regime.
The country does not have legal opposition parties and Afewerki does not permit national elections, establishing a one-party state .
Following the devastating 1998-2000 border war with Ethiopia, the Eritrean regime saw zero-tolerance for a free press and squashed all privately-owned news media.
Currently Eritrea has one radio station, one printing press and one television station all state-owned and tightly controlled.
In 2001, Afewerki has also arrested 11 high-ranking government officials including Vice President Mahmoud Sherifo, Foreign Minister Haile Woldetensae, Military Chief-of-Staff Ogbe Abraha and eight other central committee members for criticising the war with Ethiopia.

Among the ten prominent journalists arrested in 2001 is David Issac, winner of the 2011 Golden Pen of Freedom award.


Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

Salva Kiir’s gestapo mentality 2018-03-23 05:42:21 By Duop Chak Wuol It was a common perception in Adolf Hitler’s Germany that working as an assassin for the notorious Nazi’s secret police, the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo), was a noble career (...)

Marshall al-Bashir seems poised to stockpile nuclear arsenal 2018-03-22 21:40:17 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman This article comes against the backdrop of the news on March 17, 2018 (KHARTOUM) and quoted Sudan’s Minister of Water Resources and Electricity Minister Muataz Musa as (...)

Maulana Mayen Wol was acquitted by South Sudan Supreme Court 2018-03-21 21:14:00 By Amb. Gordon Buay I have seen some quarters criticizing the appointment of Maulana Mayen Wol as the undersecretary of the Ministry of Petroleum on the basis of the charges brought against him (...)


Latest Press Releases

Appeal for forgiveness and pardon of John Agou Wuoi 2018-03-07 08:28:08 H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President and Commander-in-Chief, of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Republic of South Sudan (RSS), 5th February, 2018. Through: Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth (...)

Petition for release of Agou John Wuoi from prison 2018-02-15 20:45:31 Open letter to South Sudan President Salva Kiir Your Excellency, Kindly please permit me to take this rare opportunity to appreciate you for every effort you have made toward making South Sudan (...)

AUHIP Communiqué on Sudan & SPLM-N talks for cessation of hostilities agreement 2018-02-05 13:04:16 African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan and South Sudan Joint Statement on Unilateral Ceasefire, Cessation of Hostilities and Completion of Negotiations 1) With the facilitation (...)


Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.