Eritrea, six Journalists Release on Bail. It is not Enough


Our Special Correspondent
Saba Makeda
Somewhere in Eritrea, 13th January 2014

In March 2013 seven journalists, were released under bail conditions , by the Eritrean Government  theses  were: Mohammed Said Mohammed, Biniam Ghirmay, Esmail Abd-el-Kader, Araya Defoch, Mohammed Dafla, Simon Elias and Yemane Hagos.

In  January 2015 six  more  journalists, were released, under bail  conditions, by the Eritran Government. The journalists  are: Bereket Misghina, Yirgalem Fisseha Mebrahtu, Basilios Zemo (Radio Bana), Meles Negusse Kiflu, (radio  Bana and  radio  Zara), Girmay Abraham (Radio Dimtsi Hafash) and Petros Teferi. All of them have been  released on bail. Most of the journalists  were arrested in 2009, according whit Reporters Without Borders. We are happy for the journalists that have been released and their  families .

Tedros Menghistu editor of Selam (press card from eritrea)

However, while  we rejoice we must not forget that:

  • the released journalist  are released on bail – they  are not  free
  • while in  Eritrea they are not likely to be able to speak  of their experience or practice their  profession – so they are not  free
  • they will not be able to  seek any  redress for  the loss of their health or  time that they would have spent with their  families  or the hardship the imprisonment  caused to their  family – they  are not  free

In fact they remain silence and if we are not vigilant they remain under threat of incarceration and disappearance. Making people disappear is a skill that the Eritrean Government has mastered and employs skilfully reaching across borders into Sudan, South Sudan, and Kenya.

While we rejoice and prepare bun and anbaba for the  released journalist we should not  forget the  other political prisoners in Eritrea, nor  should we forget the many prisoners who though  not  political  are not  afforded  the dignity of a due process  because President Isaias Afeworki  has  declared the Constitution and hence all  talk of human  rights, civil  rights dead.

Personally, I will always remember like Sium Tsehaye  a friend and a teacher

Moses asked Pharoh to “Let my people go”.  Now we must also demand: “Where are our brothers and sisters, our children?

We must remember that it is our SILENCE that has given president Isaias permission to discard us and use us as floor mats. We must  raise our voices and say: “Enough –Yiakleka”.

Saba Makeda


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