Thursday, September 20, 2018

ERITREA: Ex-Minister Arrested after Book Release - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Sept 18, 2018.
Former Eritrean Minister of Finance, Berhane Abrehe, was taken to an undisclosed location by security agents on 17 September. His arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention come just days after he published a book encouraging Eritreans to peacefully protest against government policies.    
On the morning of 17 September, former Eritrean Minister of Finance, Berhane Abrehe was approached by security agents while having breakfast with one of his sons in Asmara. They asked him to come with them and he was taken to an undisclosed location. His family has not been notified of his fate or whereabouts or been in touch with him. 
Amnesty International believes his arrest was in relation to a two-volume book Berhane authored, entitled Eritrea Hagerey (Eritrea My Country), which was released on 11 September. The book criticizes the current Eritrean political system and calls on Eritreans to struggle peacefully to ensure that democratic changes become institutionalized in the country. In a pre-recorded internet audio message shared with Eritreans on 6 September, Berhane blamed the Eritrean President for the suffering of the Eritrean people and demanded change, challenging the Eritrean President to a televised debate. The audio message was published online since there is no independent media in Eritrea. 
His wife, Almaz Habtemariam, has been detained without trial for the past year for allegedly allowing their son to leave the country without government permission. Eritreans seeking to leave the country must first request permission from the government.