Eritrea’s Incommunicado Prisoners: Do They Know It Is New Year?
Michael Abraha The New 2018 is looming. Unfortunately, there is no sign of New Year presidential clemency or a move for public trials for thousands of Eretria’s political and religious prisoners. The charges leveled 16 years
The New 2018 is looming. Unfortunately, there is no sign of New Year presidential clemency or a move for public trials for thousands of Eretria’s political and religious prisoners. The charges leveled 16 years ago against the former ruling PFDJ Central Committee and Politburo members involve “acts of treason aimed to harm national sovereignty.” Then jailed without trial are religious leaders – among them, the ailing Patriarch, Abuna Antonios and the Moslem leader Hajji Musa Mohamednur, who only believe that religion does transform and create better citizens.
The Eritrean Government shuns pressures from human rights NGO’s accusing them of being hypocrites.
I agree to some degree. Many are credible while some lack integrity as I have observed and studied many of them as reporter in Juba and Nairobi. I found some of these NGOs are just money making machines enriching their founders, their CEOs and staff exploiting the misery of African countries in crisis.
Putting such NGOs aside for a moment and also temporarily shelving the idea of yet another possible war with Ethiopia, Eritrea has to do what is good for its citizens. Just, reliable and transparent judicial and prison systems enhance certainty and confidence in the country’s future.
Arbitrary arrests and imprisonment without trial create doubt, frustration and forces youngsters to take desperate actions detrimental to themselves and to their country. That is the reason why every month reports speak of at least 2000 youngsters running away to unknown lands out of desperation. There can be no economic growth under these circumstances. Nor is it ever possible to defend the country with a demoralized army whose members keep defecting to neighboring states.
The government should pull its head out of the sand without delay and embrace constitutionality and rule of law.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Former Defense Minister Petros Solomon; Foreign Minister Haile Durue; Patriarch Abune Antonios; Hajji Musa
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