Visit the new AsenaTv Website

Eritrean Journalists in Exile (AEJE) commemorates the Day of Infamy

On this day, September 18, 10 years ago, the dictatorial regime of Eritrea, while the world turned its attention to September 11 attacks in the USA, issued its totalitarian decree to close the Eritrean private

On this day, September 18, 10 years ago, the dictatorial regime of Eritrea, while the world turned its attention to September 11 attacks in the USA, issued its totalitarian decree to close the Eritrean private press and unleashed its squad to arbitrary arrest Eritrean journalists.
September 18, 2001 is remembered as a day of infamy and immense tragedy by many Eritreans all over the world. On that day, a catastrophic and terrible event took place in our land that its repercussion and aftermath is haunting all of us till this very day. Agents of the Eritrean secret police, arrested many Eritrean citizens all over the country on that tragic day of September 18 2001. Among the illegally arrested were independent journalists, former ministers and high ranking officials, dissidents, religious leaders and elders, people being suspected of having a different idea of that of the ruling party and many others. When independent journalists were arrested and their papers were closed, most were in business less than five years. They were young and full of good will and innocence. Like their counterparts everywhere, they were dedicated to their profession and were committed to their readers. Other than that they didn’t commit a single crime. So far they are not charged with a single misdeed or any violations. Other than the sporadic statements by PFDJ party officials and occasional unfounded accusations of treason by the Eritrean president, none had been charged so far. The regime’s refusal to bring to court these guiltless journalists is a proof by itself of the lack of a single punishable wrongdoing or any other contraventions; let alone the serious crimes of treason or endangering national security.
Initially, a number of Eritreans especially those in the Diaspora tend to believe the Eritrean government’s version of events. Some naively accepted as true of all the unfounded and sheer lie accusations of disloyalty or subversions labeled by the government against the Eritrean journalists. But with passage of time and with the refusal of the government to produce a single shred of evidence even after pressure from its ardent adherents, now almost everyone knows the reality of life in PFDJ’ Eritrea and the sad heart breaking  conditions of the courageous journalists and others. Ten years on, there is no sign of softening by the Eritrean administration. Despite pressure, plea and condemnations by all peace loving and friends of Eritrea governmental and non governmental agencies, human rights activists, well known individuals including Nobel laureates and even the United Nations, Eritrean journalists are languishing in jails and dying under one of the most awful conditions and camps in the country. According to credible reports and eye witness account of some prison guards who managed to escape, so far some six Eritrean independent journalists have died and the fate of others is highly precarious to say the least. In fact the last eye witness account of the situations of Eritrean independent journalists was almost two years ago. So one can envision how many more are still alive by now. With no contact and visitations by family or any other one, Eritrean journalists are condemned to die one by one in the most inhuman and cruel way imaginable. No one can tell for sure why the Eritrean government and the president hold such grudge and animosity towards these young  and amateur journalists, whose only guilt seems naively trying to work as a journalists and serving their people. These people were not serial killers, didn’t steal any thing; they were not members of opposition groups or coup plotters. Even such kind of people deserve a fair trial and due day in court. But in Eritrea today under the most undemocratic regime of President Issias Afewerki, Eritrean journalists and media personalities are perishing every other day for just being journalists be the mouth piece of the masses.
Eritreans have had their spring way before the Arab spring spearheaded by the journalists. For the past 10 years, Eritrean youth has been fleeing in thousands to escape the slavery of the so called “national service”. Hundreds of them died in the desert or in the Mediterranean Sea or kidnapped by nomads. In addition, the regime has a deaf ear to the cries of hunger caused by the continuing food shortage in Eritrea,
The Association of Eritrean Journalists in Exile (AEJE) is a non-profit organization established by some exiled Eritrean journalists. AEJE’s primary objective is to advocate on behalf of the unjustly incarcerated and dying Eritrean journalists. In this tenth anniversary of the sad epoch of Eritrean history, AEJE appeals to all Eritrean and others to do everything they can to address this issue of Eritrean journalists. AEJE especially appeals, to the PFDJ supporters and the ruling party backers in the Diaspora.  We respect your right to shore up or choose what ever party you like including the PFDJ. We have no right to say you don’t have to support the PFDJ. But we extend our plea to your humanity and common sense in the matter of Eritrean journalists.  These journalists, who had been rotting in dungeons under unspeakable conditions are your brothers, cousins, uncles and above all humans like you and all of us. What benefits does it bring such kind of immense suffering by these people to you and your party? Some of you are religious. So where is the sense of forgiveness, mercy and humanity? We appeal to your consciousness and common sense of humanity in this regard. Your favorite party and government are labeled as one of the worst murderers of journalists by the whole world. Is there any glory in this? Why don’t you ask the regime you been supporting with money and other for so long to bring to justice or release these brave Eritrean journalists? Despite our differences and choices, we are all Eritreans and it is time for you to ask and put pressure to the Eritrean government to stop this inhuman and barbaric act of murdering innocent Eritrean journalists. Urge your government to leave a worthy legacy not a bloody record.
AEJE wants to thank all Eritrean and non Eritrean organizations, journalistic groups, human rights advocates, governments and fellow journalist from all over the world, for their stead fast assistance and sympathy regarding the plight of Eritrean Journalists. Sadly; ten years on the carnage and unbearable treatment of Eritrean journalists is still going on unabated. Even after September 18, 2001, many journalists and media personalities including those who work for the party and government been arrested and their where about is unknown till this day. This senseless persecution against journalists and the press in Eritrea should stop immediately. Courageous Eritrean journalists should be released unconditionally. AEJE thus calls on all Eritreans to fully engage in this noble and humane endeavor. You can help by writing to your governors, leaders, senators, parliamentarians, state and local officials and other concerned authorities in your area. AEJE and its members will not rest and cease to cry for justice till all journalists are released and accounted for in Eritrea.
On this day, September 18 while we remember one of the darkest moments of Eritrea, we will continue the struggle started by those brave journalists. The perpetrators of the crime has to be brought to justice for atrocities they have committed to Eritreans, including, the journalists
The Association of Eritrean Journalists in Exile (AEJE) is a non-profit organization, registered in Sweden, and its members are exiled Eritrean journalists who are now residing in different parts of the world; Africa, Europe and North America.  The mission of AEJE is to bring together exiled Eritrean journalists and to advocate for freedom of press in Eritrea. The Association can be contacted at:

Review overview