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  WHO IS ERMIAS Debessai  

Ermias Debessai one of the founding members of EPLF and its representative in Europe for many years is now a political prisoner in Eritrea. In 1997, he was recalled from his posting as Eritrean ambassador to Uganda, arrested and, at a secret trial, sentenced to seven years imprisonment. He was released in April 2003 and after a period of house arrest was again imprisoned. Neither lawyers not family members have been allowed access

to him. The Asmara regime has not dared to put him on trial and place its accusations in front of a court open to public scrutiny. It has instead resorted to rumours, alleging that Ermias was involved in corruption. In reality, he is the victim of Eritrea's descent into dictatorship
      Eritrea today is gripped by repression and fear: all newspapers not under government control have been banned, political parties are not allowed to operate, dissenters are imprisoned by secret courts, religious groups which have autonomy from the state are persecuted and people are routinely rounded up to be coerced into military service. This is not the society for which the Eritrean people made countless sacrifice during more than thirty years of armed struggle to gain their independence from Ethiopia.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Committee to Protect Journalist and the European Union Parliament have condemned the Eritrean government? violation of human rights. The Eritrean people have not forgotten the aims for which their loved ones sacrificed their lives. The demand to free Ermias Debessai and other political prisoners is an integral part of their struggle for democracy and human rights.

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