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Amnesty International Report 1995 - Eritrea

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 1 January 1995
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1995 - Eritrea, 1 January 1995, available at: [accessed 13 December 2019]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Several suspected government opponents were detained without charge or trial. Over 130 people detained on account of their involvement with the previous Ethiopian Government in Eritrea were released, but scores of others remained in detention without charge or trial. The whereabouts of over a dozen people who "disappeared" in 1991 and 1992 remained unknown. Two dissident soldiers were killed by government troops in July; it was not clear whether they had been extrajudicially executed.

The country entered its second year of independence from Ethiopia under the government of President Issayas Afewerki, chair of the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (formerly the Eritrean People's Liberation Front, EPLF), the only permitted political party. A commission was appointed to draft a constitution and started work.

Information about detentions of government opponents was difficult to obtain and confirm. Several people were reportedly arrested in western Eritrea in January for alleged involvement with an armed Eritrean opposition group, Islamic Jihad, based in neighbouring Sudan, but no further details were available.

Abdusalam Mohamed Habib and three other members of the Jaberti ethnic group were arrested during a visit from Saudi Arabia in January and remained in detention without charge or trial at the end of the year. The authorities gave no explanation for their detentions.

An amnesty was declared in May for 132 prisoners detained without charge or trial since 1991 on account of alleged involvement in human rights crimes or "spying" for the former Ethiopian Government. No details were given about those released or about scores of others remaining in detention.

There was no news from the government or other sources about several detainees who had "disappeared" in the previous three years. They included Idris Saad Mahmoud and three other members of an Eritrean group working with the former Ethiopian Government who were reportedly abducted from Addis Ababa in May 1991: Ali Higo Mohamed, a former mayor of Massawa, who was abducted from Addis Ababa in July 1991; and Wolde-Mariam Bahibi and Tekle-Berhan Gebre-Tsadik of the Eritrean Liberation Front-Revolutionary Council (ELF-RC), who were abducted from Sudan in April 1992.

In July government troops reportedly shot dead two dissident soldiers at Mai Habar military camp, 30 kilometres south of the capital, Asmara. It was unclear whether or not the government troops used lethal force lawfully when they fired at the soldiers, who were reportedly demonstrating against the military authorities.

Amnesty International appealed to the government to disclose details of all political detainees, to clarify their legal status and not to detain them indefinitely without charge or trial. It called for the release of the four Jaberti members whom it believed to be prisoners of conscience. It urged the authorities to account for all "disappeared" prisoners, and to establish an impartial investigation into the Mai Habar incident. No reply was received.

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