Our Special Correspondent
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 .
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”.