ACTION ALERT: Journalist detained
Originator: Writers in Prison Committee, International PEN (WiPC)

Date: 2002-12-11
Country: ERITREA
Person(s): Ezra Fessehaye
Target(s): journalist(s)
Source: WiPC
Type(s) of violation(s): arrested, imprisoned

(WiPC/IFEX) - The WiPC of International PEN is deeply concerned at the news of the detention of Ezra Fessehaye, a journalist with the government-owned newspaper "Hadas Eritrea".
According to PEN's sources, Fessehaye was arrested by security forces in July 2002 and has not been heard of since. The journalist, who analysed international news for "Hadas Eritrea", was also the founder of a computer design company named Juventus. He was apparently Ezra Fessehaye
arrested on the grounds that his company had been forging passes allowing Eritrean citizens to travel around the country.

Freedom of movement in Eritrea is restricted to those holding government-issued passes and a number of people were apprehended in July with false passes. However, it is believed that the forgery charges are being used as a pretext to detain Fessehaye.

Fessehaye's arrest brings to 24 the number of journalists known to be detained or missing and presumed detained in Eritrea. Since 18 September 2001, no independent newspaper has been allowed to publish.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:
- urging the Eritrean authorities to acknowledge that they are holding Fessehaye
- calling on them to allow Fessehaye access to a lawyer
- calling for Fessehaye to be released or charged with a recognisable offence and granted reasonable bail terms

Appeals To

His Excellency President Isaias Afeworki
C/o Permanent Mission to the United Nations
[NB: This e-mail box is sometimes full and you may
need to try several times before your e-mail is accepted.]

Mr Foazia Hashim
Minister for Justice
P.O. Box 241
Asmara, Eritrea
Fax: +29 11 12 64 32
[NB: This fax machine is not always turned on.]

His Excellency Mr Ghrimai Gheeremariam
Embassy of the State of Eritrea
96 White Lion Street
London, United Kingdom
Fax: +44 20 7713 0161

Embassy of the State of Eritrea
15-17 Avenue de Wolvendael
1180 Brussels
Fax: +32 2 372 0730

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

More Information

For further information, contact Dixe Wills at the WiPC, International PEN, 9/10 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7AT, U.K., tel: +44 207 253 3226, fax: +44 207 253 5711, e-mail:, Internet:
Source IFEX -