CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Eritrea

Blog   |   Eritrea, Sweden

Eritrean official says jailed journalists were security threat

Senior Eritrean Advisor Yemani Gebreab told Swedish daily Aftonbladet that the government had decided to “move forward,” leaving imprisoned journalists in the eternal oblivion of indefinite detention.
Since a week after September 11, 2001, when the government of Eritrea threw into secret prisons journalists from its once-vibrant private press, the only certainty it has offered about the fate of the prisoners has been ambiguity. Over the years, officials have offered various explanations for the arrests—from nebulous anti-state conspiracies involving foreign intelligence to press law violations. They have even denied that the journalists themselves ever existed. From the Eritrean president to the public relations officer with the Eritrean Ministry of Information, Eritrean officials have been consistent in their refusal to disclose whether the journalists are alive or dead and their suggestion that the journalists will be held indefinitely without formal charge or trial.
August 6, 2010 12:31 PM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Eritrea, Journalist Assistance

For Eritrean expatriate press, intimidation in exile

Tedros Menghistu's press card from Eritrea. He lives in Houston now.For the better part of the last 20 years, Tedros Menghistu has been a refugee, forced to flee his Red Sea homeland of Eritrea not once, but twice—first as a young man displaced by war in the early 1990s, and then as a professional journalist escaping political censorship and military conscription a decade later. Menghistu is also one of a handful of enterprising former professional journalists uprooted from Eritrea who have started independent news outlets in cities such as HoustonToronto, and London. As outlets for a range of views suppressed by the government in Eritrea, these upstart media platforms work under intimidation from supporters of the Eritrean government. 

Blog   |   Eritrea, Sweden

Reluctant activist: A brother’s struggle to free Dawit Isaac

Missing journalist Dawit Isaac's brother, Esayas, began the Free Dawit campaign in 2004. (Petra Jankov Picha)

In 2001, Eritrean security forces imprisoned Eritrean-Swedish journalist Dawit Isaac along with nine other journalists without trial in September 2001. The arrests effectively shut down the nation’s fledgling independent press and any potential political dissent prior to scheduled December 2001 elections, which were subsequently cancelled. To this day, Dawit is believed to be held incommunicado in a tiny cell in poor health. In all the years since his disappearance, Dawit’s brother, Esayas Isaac, has fought for his release. CPJ spoke to him on May 24, during the week of Eritrea’s 19th Independence Day:

May 25, 2010 2:12 PM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Eritrea

Exiled Eritrean editor reunites with family

The Berhane family, together in Toronto after eight years apart. From left are Mussie, Aaron, Miliete, Frieta, and Eiven. (Family photo)Eight years ago, Aaron Berhane left his wife and three children behind as he fled his native Eritrea, a fugitive wanted by authorities because his newspaper had dared criticize the government of revered independence leader Isaias Afewerki. In May 2009, Berhane's family managed to escape to Sudan. This month, at last, they joined him in Canada.

May 17, 2010 3:15 PM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Eritrea

Dawit Isaac: Jailed 3,127 days in Eritrea without trial

A banner in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Petra Jankov Picha)

Journalist Dawit Isaac has spent 3,127 days in government custody in his native Eritrea, according to the ticker on FreeDawit, a Web site based in Sweden, Isaac’s adopted country, where he is a citizen. He has never been publicly charged with a crime or been given a trial. A thorny issue between Sweden and the Red Sea nation for many years, the imprisonment of Isaac sparked disagreement between diplomats for the two countries again this week.

April 16, 2010 2:49 PM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Eritrea

Truth about jailed journalists is locked away in Eritrea

In the reclusive Red Sea nation of Eritrea, the fate of 10 journalists who disappeared in secret prisons following a September 2001 government crackdown has been a virtual state secret—only occasionally pierced by shreds of often unverifiable, secondhand information smuggled out of the country by defectors or others fleeing into exile.

« 2009 | 2011 »