There were reports of detentions without charge or trial of suspected government opponents. Scores of political prisoners arrested in the previous four years, including prisoners of conscience, continued to be held without charge or trial. The whereabouts of at least a dozen people who reportedly "disappeared" in 1991 and 1992 remained unknown. The government of President Issayas Afewerki, leader of the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), the only permitted political party, continued to face armed opposition in western border areas from the Eritrean Islamic Jihad opposi-tion organization based in neighbouring Sudan. In October the government revised its 1994 regulations on national service to make six months' military training, followed by 18 months' development service and military reserve liability, compulsory for men and women aged 18 to 50 years, with no provision for conscientious objection. In March the government confirmed its October 1994 directive that members of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious sect had no rights of citizenship because the sect "refused to recognize the state and its laws". The government enacted a law in July confirming religious freedoms but banning religious organizations from political activity. A Constitutional Commission continued its consultation and drafting work to prepare a Constitution for 1997. Information about detentions of government opponents was difficult to obtain or confirm. Arrests were reported in western Eritrea of people allegedly involved with the opposition Eritrean Islamic Jihad forces, and in the southeastern Danakil area in July of people who opposed conscription. Four prisoners of conscience, Abdusalam Mohamed Habib and three other members of the Jaberti ethnic group arrested in 1994, were among scores of political prisoners arrested since 1991 who continued to be held in detention without charge or trial. In May the authorities announced the release of 90 detainees held without charge or trial since 1991 for alleged involvement in human rights violations during the period of Ethiopian rule. Dozens of soldiers detained without trial in connection with an army mutiny in May 1993 were also released, leaving a small number still held. There were no moves to bring to trial any political detainees, most held since 1991. These included former members of the Ethiopian security forces and civilian administration in Eritrea, and members of the Eritrean Liberation Front-Revolutionary Council (ELF-RC) armed force which had fought until 1991 against both the former Ethiopian Government and the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (in power since 1991). The government denied responsibility for at least a dozen people who had reportedly "disappeared" in 1991 and 1992 (see Amnesty International Report 1995). Amnesty International appealed to the government for the release of the four Jaberti detainees and any others who were prisoners of conscience, and for all other political detainees to be given fair trials or released. It called on the government to disclose details of all political detainees and to allow them access to their families. It urged the authorities to establish full and impartial investigations into the cases of all detainees who were alleged to have "disappeared".

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