Dimtsi Hafash, Eritrea al-Haditha | Imprisoned in Eritrea | February 01, 2002

Job:Broadcast Reporter, Print Reporter
Medium:Print, Radio
Beats Covered:Politics
Local or Foreign:Local
Charge:No charge
Length of Sentence:Not Sentenced
Reported Health Problems:No

Saleh Aljazeeri, a journalist for the Arabic desk of the state radio Dimtsi Hafash and state Arabic newspaper Eritrea al-Haditha, was arrested in February 2002 for unknown reasons. Local journalists in exile said they suspected the arrest was linked to Saleh's work. The journalists said they believed he was being held in Carceli prison in Asmara. The exact date of his arrest is unknown. Authorities have not disclosed Saleh's health status, whereabouts, or any charges against him.

Saleh was seen alive in prison in 2006, according to research from Radio Erena, a France-based station run by Eritrean journalists in exile. Saleh's son, who fled Eritrea in 2016, told Radio Erena that even family members had no information about the journalist's exact whereabouts or his health.

While the government's motivation in imprisoning journalists is unknown in most cases, CPJ research has found that state media journalists work in a climate of intimidation and absolute control. In this context of extreme repression, CPJ considers journalists attempting to escape the country or in contact with third parties abroad as struggling for press freedom.

Saleh did not appear on CPJ's census of imprisoned journalists prior to 2014. His case came to the organization's attention as part of a fresh investigation in 2014 into the status of long-held prisoners in Eritrea.

In October 2017, CPJ wrote to Eritrea's information ministry requesting updates on the health and location of Saleh and all other imprisoned journalists. Paulos Netabay, director of the state-owed Eritrean News Agency, responded to CPJ's emails on behalf of the information ministry and declined to comment on the specific case of Saleh. Paulos said that questions on the health and location of imprisoned journalists were a matter for the Eritrean police and prison authorities to address. He did not respond to CPJ's requests for a referral to the appropriate authorities to respond to these questions. CPJ's attempts to reach these authorities independently were unsuccessful.

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