Amnesty Intl; Demands Freedom for 11 Eritrean Politicians, Jailed Since 2001

Posted September 15th, 2011 at 9:15 pm (UTC-5)
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The human rights group Amnesty International is demanding Eritrea release 11 political prisoners arrested a decade ago after calling for democratic reforms.

Amnesty says the eleven, which include three former cabinet ministers, have spent the past ten years in prison without being charged and with no contact with the outside. It says being held incommunicado increases the risk of torture.

Amnesty calls prison conditions in Eritrea notoriously dire, including keeping inmates in shipping containers and underground cells and in extreme desert heat.

The group calls the 10th anniversary a harrowing reminder of President Isaias Afewerki's complete disregard for the essential right of freedom of expression by brutally suppressing criticism of his government.

Amnesty says the Eritrean government has refused to confirm the whereabouts of the eleven prisoners.