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Letter to Isaias Afwerki: A Call for Justice for all Eritrean Prisoners of Conscience in Eritrea

Letter to Isaias Afwerki A Call for Justice for all Eritrean Prisoners of Conscience in Eritrea We, the family members of Eritrea’s prisoners of conscience, demand the immediate release of the Eritrean heroes.         

Letter to Isaias Afwerki

A Call for Justice for all Eritrean Prisoners of Conscience in Eritrea

We, the family members of Eritrea’s prisoners of conscience, demand the immediate release of the Eritrean heroes.                                 

We will not forget that our loved ones were taken away from their families in the early hours on 18 September 2001. These fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters who were prominent national leaders of the Eritrean struggle for independence were incarcerated for sticking out their necks against the direction the country was taking.  Their act of defiance was consistent with the raison-de-entre of the liberation struggle they were committed to since their early youth, in the mid 1960s and early 1970s. The state our country is in now vindicates their worries and concerns.

After 14 years, there has been no response to the call for the release of these heroes and of those tens of thousands of compatriots who still remain incarcerated. Eye-witnesses testify inhuman treatment of prisoners, including, material and psychological torture, lack of any medical treatment, many of them held incommunicado for decades in tiny prison cells. There has not been any statement about their whereabouts, state of health or indeed if they are still alive. Some of their children are left orphaned in today’s “independent” Eritrea leaving them to be looked after by their distraught and elderly grandparents. The effects of these injustices is not only felt by the prisoners, their immediate families; but also by close relatives, friends and all justice seeking Eritreans.


This illegal imprisonment and disappearance has resulted in the destruction of entire families, many fleeing in search of safety in neighbouring countries and beyond. Many family members are still suffering from psychological trauma and depression as a result of what has happened and by the constant harassment and intimidation that they face daily.

Having survived 30 years of war, this was the time when they should have enjoyed normal family lives.  Instead, they have disappeared along with thousands not to be heard of.  Fourteen years is too long!  

We call on you to release them all without any delay, we have all suffered long enough.

Families of the detained/disappeared

18 September 2015.



Families of the detained and disappeared sent a letter to Isaias Afeworki today calling for the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.   We are also concerned about the fate of the tens of thousands who are incarcerated in hundreds of underground prisons across the country.

Under this illegal regime, no group escapes from Isaias’ crocodile’s jaws: old and young, men and women, ex-fighters and ordinary citizens, sheikhs and priests and religious leaders have all suffered.

On the occasion of the 14th anniversary of the imprisonment of the prominent Eritrean Leaders of the Eritrea’s struggle for independence on 18 September 2001, we call for the release of all political prisoners in Eritrea.

These heroes advocated change for policies to: institute justice, focus on development, recognise political diversity, and ensure cohesion by recognising Eritrea’s diversity.  In a nutshell they called for constitutional government, which puts the welfare of the people at the centre of domestic and foreign policies, and the sovereignty of the people through democratic processes and structures.

These heroes called for a stop to Isaias’ dictatorship by campaigning for policies

that unleashes the people’s potential to build a stable, peaceful and prosperous Eritrea through the exercise of our natural freedom.

Pushing the Eritrean youth to migrate in mass demonstrates the regime’s deliberate intent and action designed to destroy Eritrea’s social fabric, diminish the people’s resilience and thereby prolong Isaias’ dictatorship.

Therefore, we call and demand that:

  1. 1.  Isaias Afewerki to immediately release all the veteran leaders of the Eritrean Independence struggle, including all other prisoners of conscience;
  2.  the Eritrean political, human rights and civic organisations to enhance their efforts and effectively coordinate among themselves to bring about a constitutional government in Eritrea;
  3.  the European Union to exert pressure on the Isaias’ regime and demand that he accounts for all that have disappeared before any kind of engagement;
  4.  the international community support the Eritrean people’s struggle for a just, stable, tolerant, democratic, progressive, prosperous, peaceful and confident country that could contribute to peace and security in the Horn of Africa.

Concerned Eritreans

18 September 2015

Review overview
  • R.K. September 16, 2015

    International Red Cross can Request Isseyas Afwerki to allow their members visit the prisoners. He will be obliged by International Law to comply.

  • simon September 17, 2015

    did you think issajas the leader of banditis he will heardthe request of the familiythose there are in prison i may self i dont think so because this man is he make a lot of crime and his arogant and the countrey is with out consteution he make what hay will.

  • HAKI ZEREBA September 17, 2015

    ISAYAS Now his days are counted, soon he will be gone for good, no doubt about that.
    But, the biggest questions is: what will happen to ERE, once the crazy-bloody man is gone ?

    • Abate September 17, 2015

      ስማዕባ ሽምካ ምቁር ነጥብኻ ግን አፋፊ ኮይኑኒ፣ ሃገርና ዓዲ ጀጋኑን ምኩራት መራሕቲን ምዃና ከመይ ዘንጊዕኻዮ።

  • Ibrahim September 17, 2015

    Eritrea today is property of one crazy man with his junta, when he disappear will remain for all under the shadow OF Rule of Law, under his admin. the country facing gross valuation,loots the wealth of COUNTRY the people living under the line of poverty caravans of young age crossing the border every one witness the shoot to kill policy SAWA IS salver and killing field
    more than 10000 in jails. When u ask citizens who recently came from Home Land the tell u the front line services not exist life is Hell the only people living in high life is his dogs. every one wishes ISSYAS to go to HELL.

  • johannes September 17, 2015


  • berhe September 17, 2015

    Dear sisters,

    With all due respect,
    Your question is appropriate but your appearance does not match with the contents of the letter.

  • Meharenazgi Merhawi September 18, 2015

    you are right Berhe, they had to grimace their faces instead of smiling, but what is important is the
    message they have passed.It is a timely message if the Dictator doesn’t turn his deaf ears towards it.

  • Musa September 19, 2015

    Dear Assenna,
    Would you please follow and clarify the news about Many of Eritrean elders that are dying in the training centers of the mafia regime, only on the past two months more than 18 elders were died because of the excessive heat and evil treatment of the criminal regime.

  • Bo Keeney September 22, 2015

    I met a group outside the Eritrean embassy in Islington last week – they were there to remember Eritrean prisoners of conscience, that have been imprisoned now for 14 years. I am concerned for the welfare of these prisoners and for their families. I am a citizen of the United states, resident and soon to be a citizen of the United kingdom. Is there anything I can do to help bring about fair treatment for these prisoners? What is the best action to take?

  • Abreham Kidane October 6, 2015

    We all Eritreans must stand up for this illegal regime,unelected and destroying our culture and people.a man with mental illness can not lead a nation.As of the security organization concerned they will be dealt by the might of the Eritrean people , there is time for all.