|Annual report 1997
Reporting period: 1. January 1996 - 31 December 1996
During the year under report numerous political prisoners without accusation or legal proceedings were taken in safekeeping. More than 100 in the previous years arrested political prisoners sat also further without accusation or legal proceedings in the detention in. Numerous since 1991 persons in safekeeping were condemned after unfair and legal proceedings held under exclusion of the public to imprisonments. Over the fate and the whereabouts of several persons, who were “disappeared” in the years 1991 and 1992, further uncertainty prevailed. It must be feared that some by them were specially-legally executed.
The government of president Issayas Afawerki saw itself also further confronted with armed activities by the neighbouring Sudan from operating eritreischen group of oppositions of the Islamic Jihad. Beyond that it came between Eritrea and Yemen to an armed conflict around the Hanish islands in the Red Sea, with which France strove around switching.
In Eritrea further military service existed. It did not exist to any possibility of refusing the military service for conscience reasons (see annual report 1996). A directive of the government, according to which Jehovas right to nationality do not possess member of the religious community of the witnesses, remained also into force (see annual report 1996).
There was no independent press. In June an issued new press law proclaimed the Pressefreiheit, contained at the same time however punishments - under it also imprisonments - for actions, which insisted perhaps only in the legitimate perception of the right on free expression of opinion.
Groups of oppositions remained forbidden. The people front for democracy and justice (People's front for Democracy and Justice - PFDJ), formerly Eritrei people liberation front (Eritrean People's liberation front - EPLF), was further the only certified political party. The first draft of a new condition for Eritrea, which planned restrictions of the right to education of political parties, was approved of predominantly by that from members of the PFDJ existing parliament.
Eritrea was one of the two African states, which had not ratified the African Charter of the human rights and rights of the peoples yet.
During the year under report information came to light, according to those several member of the group of peoples of the Jaberti, which had been arrested approximately two years without accusation or legal proceedings (see earlier annual reports), at the beginning of of 1996 were released.
In the reporting period numerous further political prisoners were arrested and likewise held without accusation or legal proceedings in safekeeping. Thus amnesty over the arrest of presumed opposition members knowledge, which the eritreischen group of oppositions Islamic Jihad or different other groupings of the Eritrei liberation front (Eritrean liberation front - ELEVEN, kept international) belonged. Beyond that several Sudanese citizens under the suspicion were arrested information about a Sudanese group of oppositions operating from Eritrea to the Sudanese government to have passed on. More than 100 political prisoners, among them possibly forceless political prisoners, of whom some 1991 after the seizure of power by the EPLF had been already arrested, probably still were without accusation or legal proceedings in official safekeeping. Many of them were cut off arrested of the external world.
Beginning of 1996 numerous since 1991 arrested Eritreer, which had belonged formerly to the äthiopischen safety forces or the äthiopischen civil administration in Eritrea, was sentenced by military courts during secret processes. The indictments were not published, had however possibly offences against the human rights to the article. The concerning received no fair legal proceedings. Thus the rights to legal assistance and to appointment before a higher court remained for them refused. Many the accused were condemned to long imprisonments.
The authorities denied further that at least twelve humans, who had been kidnapped 1991 and 1992 from Ethiopia and the Sudan were in their safekeeping, what the fear strengthened that some by them could have been specially-legally executed.
amnesty internationally the government requested to place or however release all political prisoners either in fair way before court. Furthermore the organization expressed itself anxiously over the secret processes against the former members of the äthiopischen administration to take up received however on their letter no Reaktion.amnesty internationally pushed the government to grant to all prisoners the possibility contact to their families and its legal advices. The moreover it demanded a complete and impartial investigation of all cases, in which prisoners were “disappeared” in the safekeeping.
amnesty internationally, section of the Federal Republic of Germany registered
association, 53108 Bonn