Aklilu Solomon

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Solomon, stringer for the U.S. government-funded Voice of America (VOA) news service based in the capital, Asmara, was stripped of his press accreditation by Eritrean authorities on June 27, after he reported on the families of soldiers who had died during Eritrea’s 1998-2000 war with Ethiopia. Solomon’s report that the families were anguished over the soldiers’ deaths contradicted state media coverage, which claimed that the families had celebrated because they were proud of their relatives’ service, according to the VOA. Authorities said that Solomon’s reporting was biased and designed to “please the enemy.”

On July 8, Eritrean security officers arrested Solomon at his home and took him away to an undisclosed location. Authorities claimed that Solomon was taken to complete his military service, although the VOA said he had documents proving that he had a medical exemption. CPJ sources said Solomon has been held incommunicado in a metal shipping container at Adi Abeto Prison, near the capital, Asmara.

Sources in Asmara told VOA that Eritrean police returned to Solomon’s home shortly after his arrest, cut his phone line, and confiscated his tape recorder and tapes.