Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Eritrea jailed 'at least 10 000'

10 May 2013, 07:54

Nairobi - Eritrea's hardline regime has jailed at least 10 000 political prisoners, many in "unimaginably atrocious conditions", rights group Amnesty International said in a report on Thursday criticising the situation in the Red Sea state.

With political opposition banned, independent media quashed and religious minorities targeted, the ex-rebel government uses a system of underground cells and shipping containers to house the prisoners, the report read.

"The government has systematically used arbitrary arrest and detention without charge to crush all opposition, to silence all dissent, and to punish anyone who refuses to comply with the repressive restrictions it places on people's lives," said Claire Beston, Amnesty's Eritrea researcher.

But Eritrea dismissed the report as "wild accusations" and said it "rejects in the clearest of terms" that it had jailed thousands.

"The sordid picture it paints resembles little to the reality," Eritrea's foreign ministry said in a statement.

The report says "at least 10 000" prisoners have "disappeared into secret and incommunicado detention" in the Horn of Africa nation, but warns it is impossible to know the exact figure.

The report was released ahead of Eritrea's celebrations of 20 years of independence on May 24, which followed an overwhelming vote by the people to split from arch-foe Ethiopia after years of bitter war.


Eritrean rebels battled far better equipped Ethiopian troops - backed first by the United States, then the Soviet Union - for three decades until victory in 1991, which was followed by a referendum two years later.

A subsequent border conflict with Ethiopia from 1998-2000 still simmers, which analysts say Asmara uses as an excuse for its continued iron-rule.

"Twenty years on from the euphoric celebrations of independence, Eritrea is one of the most repressive, secretive and inaccessible countries in the world," Beston added.

Opposition parties are banned and anyone who challenges President Issaias Afeworki is jailed without trial, often in the harshest of conditions.

Reporters Without Borders lists Eritrea below North Korea as the worst country in the world for press freedom.

"In the vast majority of cases, the prisoners' families are not informed of their whereabouts, and often never hear from their relative again after they are arrested," Amnesty added.

"Torture - for punishment, interrogation and coercion - is widespread."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Apologise for attack on Auditor G...

Apologise for attack on Auditor General, President Uhuru Kenyatta is told by Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyong'o. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Quit if you can't fight corruptio...

An MP has told President Uhuru Kenyatta to quit office if he cannot fight corruption. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Investigate Uhuru, Ruto for corru...

Investigate President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto's offices over corruption, CORD leader Raila Odinga has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Its a 1 horse race to State House...

Its a 1 horse race to State House, DP William Ruto has mocked the CORD Coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Enjoy your time left in power, We...

CORD Co Principal Moses Wetangu'la has told the Jubilee Coalition to enjoy its last few months in power before it is voted out in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Stop hiding in State House and sa...

ODM MP's have called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to release drought aid and to stop sitting on public funds. Read more...