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Press Release:On World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders accuses Issaias Afeworki of Eritrea for committing crimes

Reporters Without Borders / Reporters sans frontières ( 3 May 2013 World Press Freedom Day Indictment Eritrea - Issaias Afeworki, president Born in February 1946, you grew up in Eritrea, got a university degree from Ethiopia’s University of Addis Ababa and

Reporters Without Borders / Reporters sans frontières


3 May 2013

World Press Freedom Day


Eritrea – Issaias Afeworki, president

Born in February 1946, you grew up in Eritrea, got a university degree from Ethiopia’s University of Addis Ababa and then received political and military training in China. After 30 years of resistance against Ethiopian domination, you entered Asmara in 1991 and became the Republic of Eritrea’s first president in 1993. Yesterday a liberation hero, today you are a ruthless dictator who oppresses his people, refuses to allow opposition parties, does not apply the constitution and says elections will not be held “for decades.”

Issaias Afeworki, Reporters Without Borders accuses you of committing the following crimes:

– Ordering, together with then information minister Naizghi Kiflu, the closure of all of Eritrea’s privately-owned press and the arrests of at least 13 journalists, newspaper owners and editors in September 2001.

– Imposing an unrelenting censorship and terror on the state media – including Eri-TV, radio Dimtsi Hafash (Voice of the Masses) and the pro-governement daily Hadas Eritrea – which are the only media allowed in Eritrea.

– Masterminding and allocating major financial and technical resources for the jamming of the satellite signal of Radio Erena, an independent exile radio station broadcasting to Eritrea from Paris.

– Responsibility for the surveillance and harassment of the few foreign media correspondents based in Asmara until they all left. You share this responsibility with Ali Abdu, your acting information minister for nearly ten years (who fled the country in November 2012), and his close collaborator, Amanuel Hadgu.

– Responsibility, since 2001, for many other arrests of journalists, as a result of which your country is now Africa’s biggest prison for news providers. About 30 of them are currently detained.

– Imposing inhumane conditions on detained journalists – including detention in secret locations, underground cells, use of steel containers as cells, and torture – causing many deaths. So far, seven of them have died or taken their own lives in detention because of the injustice of the treatment you imposed. They are Medhanie Haile, Yusuf Mohamed Ali, Said Abdulkader, Fessehaye “Joshua” Johannes, Dawit Habtemichael, Mattewos Habteab and Sahle Tsegazab, also known as Wedi Itay.

– Treating the international community, media and opinion with contempt when asked about the fate of journalists imprisoned in your country, saying: “There were never any. There aren’t any. You have been misinformed.” (Al Jazeera, 2008)

You should be called to account for these gross violations of freedom of information, which contravene article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.



39 leaders, groups named as Predators of Freedom of Information in 2013

On World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders is releasing an updated list of 39 Predators of Freedom of Information ­– presidents, politicians, religious leaders, militias and criminal organizations that censor, imprison, kidnap, torture and kill journalists and other news providers. Powerful, dangerous and violent, these predators consider themselves above the law.

“These predators of freedom of information are responsible for the worst abuses against the news media and journalists,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “They are becoming more and more effective. In 2012, the level of violence against news providers was unprecedented and a record number of journalists were killed.

“World Press Freedom Day, which was established on the initiative of Reporters Without Borders, must be used to pay tribute to all journalists, professional and amateur, who have paid for their commitment with their lives, their physical integrity or their freedom, and to denounce the impunity enjoyed by these predators.”

Five new predators have been added to the list: the new Chinese president, Xi Jinping, the Jihadi group Jabhat Al-Nosra from Syria, members and supporters of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Pakistan’s Baloch armed groups, and Maldives’ religious extremists. Four predators have been dropped from the list: former Somali information and communications minister Abdulkadir Hussein Mohamed, Burmese President Thein Sein, whose country is experiencing unprecedented reforms despite the current ethnic violence, the ETA group, and the Hamas and Palestinian Authority security forces, which are harassing journalists less.

To draw attention to their abuses, Reporters Without Borders has drafted indictments against some of these predators in the hope that they will one day be brought before competent courts. To better highlight the gulf between propaganda and reality, the statements of some of them have been contrasted with the facts. And to show how some predators really think, we have presented their innermost thoughts in the first person. We had to use a little imagination, of course, but the facts alluded to conform to reality.

New names in the list of predators

A predator goes and is replaced by another. It is no surprise that Xi Jinping has taken former Chinese President Hu Jintao’s place as predator. The change of person has not in any way affected the repressive system developed by China’s Communist Party.

The list of predators has been impacted by the repercussions from the Arab Spring and uprisings in the Arab world. Members and supporters of Egyptian President Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood, have been responsible for harassing and physically attacking independent media and journalists critical of the party.

Jabhat Al-Nosra’s entry into the predators list reflects the evolution in the Syrian conflict and the fact that abuses are no longer attributable solely to the regime, represented on the list by Bashar al-Assad, but also to opposition arme

d groups, which are proving to be more and more intolerant and suspicious towards the media. At least 23 journalists and 58 citizen-journalists have been killed in Syria since 15 March 2011 and seven journalists are currently missing.

In Pakistan, Baloch armed groups, including the Balochistan Liberation Army, Baloch Liberation Front and Baloch Musallah Defa Army, have turned the southwestern province of Balochistan into one of the world’s most dangerous regions for journalists. Consisting of armed separatist groups and opposing militias created to defend the central Pakistani government, they have spread terror in the media and created information “black holes.” Pakistan’s intelligence agencies are also on the predators list because of their abuses against the media.

Ever since the army mutiny that overthrew President Mohamed Nasheed in the Maldives in 2012, extremist religious groups have tried to use their nuisance power to extend their influence. They have become more aggressive as the July 2013 presidential election approaches, intimidating news media and bloggers and using freedom of expression to impose a religious agenda while denying this freedom to others.

Unacceptable impunity for predators

Physical attacks on journalists and murders of journalists usually go completely unpunished. This encourages the predators to continue their violations of human rights and freedom of information. The 34 predators who were already on the 2012 list continue to trample on freedom of information with complete disdain and to general indifference.

The leaders of dictatorships and closed countries enjoy a peaceful existence while media and news providers are silenced or eliminated. Such leaders include Kim Jong-un in North Korea, Issaias Afeworki in Eritrea and Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov in Turkmenistan. In these countries, as in Belarus, Vietnam, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries, the international community’s silence is not just shameful, it is complicit.

Reporters Without Borders urges the international community not to hide behind economic and geopolitical interests. Thanks to their rich natural resources, Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev and Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev are confident that no one will rap their knuckles. Economic interests come before everything else, as they do with China. It is the same with countries that the West regards as “strategic.”

Iran’s two predators – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – have already taken steps to deter the media from providing independent coverage of next June’s presidential election. The waves of arrests of journalists that began on 27 January, “Black Sunday,” are clear evidence of this.

Criminal organizations and paramilitary groups that are often linked to drug trafficking – Mexico’s Zetas, Colombia’s Urabeños and the Italian Mafia – continue to target journalists and media they regard as too curious, independent or hostile. In Mexico, a country that is especially deadly for media personnel, 87 journalists have been killed and 18 have disappeared since 2000. Justice has not been properly rendered in any of these cases.

Since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in Russia, the authorities have tightened their grip even further in response to unprecedented opposition protests. The country remains marked by a completely unacceptable level impunity for those responsible for violence against journalists. A total of 29 have been murdered since 2000, including Anna Politkovskaya.

Why are predators never brought to justice?

The persistently high level of impunity is not due to a legal void. There are laws and instruments that protect journalists in connection with their work. Above all, it is up to individual states to protect journalists and other media personnel. This was stressed in Resolution 1738 on the safety of journalists, which the United Nations security council adopted in 2006.

Nonetheless, states often fail to do what they are supposed to do, either because they lack the political will to punish abuses of this kind, or because their judicial system is weak or non-existent, or because it is the authorities themselves who are responsible for the abuses.

The creation of a mechanism for monitoring adherence to Resolution 1738, which Reporters Without Borders has proposed, would encourage member states to adopt specific provisions for penalizing murders, physical attacks and disappearances that target journalists, would extend Statesʼ obligations to non-professional “news providers” and would reinforce their efforts to combat impunity for such crimes.

At the international level, the legal protection of journalists is also guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Geneva Conventions and other instruments. The United Nations recently published an Action Plan on the safety of journalists and measures to combat impunity for crimes of violence against them.

The International Criminal Court’s creation has unfortunately not helped advance the fight against impunity for those responsible for the most serious crimes of violence against journalists, although journalists play a fundamental role in providing information and issuing alerts during domestic and international armed conflicts. The ICC only has jurisdiction when the crime takes place on the territory of a state that is a party to the Rome Statute (which created the ICC) or if the accused person is a citizen of a state party.

Furthermore, the Rome Statute provides for no specific charge for deliberate physical attacks on journalists. Article 8 of the statute needs to be amended so that a deliberate attack on media professionals is regarded as a war crime.

Dropped from the predators list

Abdulkadir Hussein Mohamed

Also know as “Jahweyn,” this Somali politician is no longer minister of information and telecommunications. His successor does not seem to be directly responsible for harassment, intimidation or other abuses against media personnel. Journalism nonetheless continues to be very dangerous in Somalia, with a total of 18 journalists killed in 2012.

Burmese President Thein Sein

Installed as president in March 2011, Thein Sein no longer qualifies as a predator of freedom of information. Under his presidency, the military junta has disbanded and all jailed journalists and bloggers, including Democratic Voice of Burma’s 17 video-journalists, have been freed. In 2012, prior censorship was abolished and many exile media began operating openly inside the country. The first privately-owned daily newspapers appeared in early 2013.

Hamas and Palestinian Authority security forces

The security forces of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and those of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip have been dropped from this year’s list of predators because the number of their press freedom violations has fallen considerably in the past four years. The situation of freedom of information in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is nonetheless still the subject of concern. The Hamas government recent banned local journalists from working for Israeli media, and many journalists are prosecuted for insulting President Mahmoud Abbas.


The organization ETA has been dropped from the 2013 list. It announced the “definitive end to armed actions” in 2011 and has carried out no attacks on journalists or news media since then. Reporters Without Borders has of course not forgotten all the journalists who were physically attacked or killed by ETA and continues to demand justice for those crimes of violence. Reporters Without Borders will also continue to be on the lookout for any future threat to media freedom by ETA.

Review overview
  • Semhar May 4, 2013

    Reporters without borders why don’t you tell the truth expose the mad dog Isayas’ nature and his background and why he joined the revolution.

    The mad dog ድያብሎስ! Isayas is a dropout from Haile Selassie University. He only lasted one semester. 

    The mad dog Isayas is 100% Ethiopian. His father is from Tembien, Tigray, Ethiopia and his mother from Adwa, Tigray, Ethiopia. 

    He was sent by Asrate Kasa the former Governor of Eritrea and by his uncle Degezmach Solomon Abreha, former governor of Wollo province of Ethiopia to dissolve the Eritrean Liberation Front.


He dissolved E.L.F in 1980.


He dissolved E.P.L.F in 1993 and replaced them by his own blind organization HIGDEF.

    He took down The Eritrean Liberation flag in 1993 and replaced it by his own burned flag.

    He dissolved the historical Eritrean provinces in 1993 and replaced them by his own Zobas.


He dissolved the law of the land “HIGHI INDABA,” “Eritrean constitution” and replaced it by his own MAFIA Law.

  • Semhar May 4, 2013

    Reporters without borders why don’t you tell the truth expose the mad dog Isayas’ nature, his background and his new mission.

    2013, the mad dog Isayas has a new mission, 

    1) To sacrifice Eritreans in the war against Ethiopia by siding with Egypt.
    2) To surrender the port of ASSAB to Ethiopia. 

    Unlike the mad dog Isayas the Eritrean People will always be on the side of Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania’s signed agreement in Entebbe, Uganda, to overturn a colonial-era treaty seeking a more reasonable and equitable utilization of the river.
    As long as Isayas and HIGDEF are in Eritrea misery and death will continue. 

    The only solution is to get rid of crazy mad dog Isayas, his son, and his blind followers HIGDEF just like the Libyans did to Gadafi, his sons and his blind followers. Eritreans should unite and get rid the tyrant mad dog Isayas, his son and his blind followers the HIGDEF.

  • belay nega May 4, 2013


    “By the way, 3 members of my family sacrificed for the country but my family paid 50K because of me. ”

    Why did you betray, the main cause, your brothers passed away for?

    • MightyEmbasoyra May 4, 2013

      With all due respect, how am I betraying them? I still care about the country they die defending it. That’s why I am not the dictator’s supporter. I see the dictator is anti Eritrea and its people.

      • A.A Yassin May 4, 2013

        Honestly referring to President Issaias as a ‘ dictator ‘ is tantamount to betraying our Hdri swu’at.

        • Amazing May 5, 2013

          Issayas has never respected “Swu’at” . Even he has a blood on his hands for some of the “Swa’at” .

          And who knows if you had A.A. Yassin . You can’t even right your real name .
          You liars always bargain by the name of Swu’at , you forget the living and the now . You push the people to think always about the past .

          The people are aware of it now.

          • belay nega May 5, 2013

            “You can’t even right your real name”

            You coward, stop character assassination,and come up with your real name.
            Before you correcting somebody, on how to write his name, correct yourself [right from write]

      • belay nega May 5, 2013

        mighty embasoira

        Do not take me wrong, but the president is as victim, as me and you, of the PRIDE driven sewra.
        And as any eritrean, who paid his due, is struggling to maintain[ERITREA AS A COUNTRY]

        • MightyEmbasoyra May 5, 2013

          May be you are looking at it at a deeper level (you sound that you are an expert in psychology or psychiatry or philosophy) but at my level, I defer from your view when it comes to Isayas.
          If we talk after independence only, this guy is in charge of the country. As you can see it is deteriorating by the day. I am just looking at his leadership performance. He failed. so, it is time for him to resign (I know this is wishful thinking though).

          • belay nega May 5, 2013

            TO ASSENA


        • Amazing May 5, 2013

          Wow…. trying to justify the crime of Isayas . Really , Isayas is a victim .

          Try to think twice before you write something .

          • ahmed saleh May 6, 2013

            You said your family paid 50 K to Hgdf because of you . Hmmm , so that is why you are fighting
            against everyone defending Issayas just to get back the money back . Smart boy good job , good luck .

  • Truly truly i say to you May 5, 2013

    Please Bela Nega don´t ridicule more at us! i heard you many times when say, ” The mad dog dictator (Don Quixote) is a victim like us.” The difference between Don Quixote and Isayas adventurism:- Don Quixote in his twisted ill mind by all fight he ignited most of the time he was victimizing selves more, while Isayas victimizing millions of innocent people life and causing destruction of our nation´s whole life. If you like read it the book in its Amharic version, so that you would know in what kind of mental sickness is suffering your sycophant evil dictator and why is he causing trouble better to understand. I am sure after you read that as you 100% agree with me and thanks me for i given you suggestion.

    • A.A Yassin May 5, 2013

      Ugum, you don’t have to tell us that you speak Amharic. We already know that Tigrayans are Amharic oriented and do not master their own Agamegna.

      • josef May 5, 2013

        @A.A Yassin
        I,ve heard that your hero isayas afkelbi is banging old women in asmara, so give him your mom’s number who knows maybe he might breed you an ugly brother who looks like you.

  • Hara May 5, 2013

    All info u posted is right.and they r not new.we hear it solution by news.we need 2 struggle 2 overthrew ze mad dog.

  • belay nega May 6, 2013


    Stop being cheap,and try to differentiate between, BELAY and MIGHTY-EMBASOIRA.
    I never defended the president,i just state the fact.Let me repeat my stand if it is not clear.
    Ethiopians are “HADE HEZBI,HADE LIBI”, to reverse what you think is irreversible.
    Here we go, the president is as victim as me and you

    I never blame them, because if i were them, i would be the worst

    For your information BELAY is too rich, to worry about 50k

    • Amazing May 6, 2013

      It is only $ 1000.00 ( by weekly salary ) in US . Does this makes you rich ?

      Sometimes , I wonder if I am talking or writing to no one.

      • MightyEmbasoyra May 6, 2013

        Belay’s comments started to confuse me recently. I am not really sure pro or anti isayas. Your statements starting to contradict each other.

        • belay nega May 6, 2013


          I am neither of the two.

          • Amazing May 7, 2013

            Belay Nega is independent . A scholar of Eritrean politics .

  • MightyEmbasoyra May 6, 2013

    I don’t see it the way you characterized Isayas. He is not the victim here. We are.
    Before we had all these information about him, I would say more than 90% of the population used to like this guy. However, for the past few yrs, thanks to the brave people and technology, we can tell who this guy really is. No more to hide.
    We said he was a hero before we know the truth. Not any more. This guy nothing but a criminal.

    • A.A Yassin May 6, 2013

      You are obsessed by Issaias. It is not healthy. Relax.

    • belay nega May 7, 2013


      For the sake of understanding, let us look at the issue from “WHAT COMES ROUND GOES ROUND” point of view.
      The E.P.L.F made Eritrean freedom to be true, by hatching a lot of Ethiopian oppositions.
      Now the Ethiopians, are working hard, to reverse it in the same way.
      I myself, never blamed Ethiopians, for doing what they supposed to do.
      But at the same time, I believe, whatever happening in Eritrea, is Ethiopians conspiracy
      Therefore anybody who is found, in the Eritrean diameter, including the president, are victims of the “REVERSE THE IRREVERSIBLE” oriented Ethiopians.
      For your information, except by those “WIN TO LOOSE” oriented, who judge the president for where he comes from, he is still likable.


      The problem is based on, the unnecessary “PRIDE” driven sewra, not the president.

      • MightyEmbasoyra May 7, 2013

        I think you are smarter than that. I would say < 5% still like the looser dictator. Silent majority do no like him but still scare of him and his puppets (most of them wants to go to Eritrea for vacation). Huge % hate the monster, for what he did. Don't try to make him a victim, please. You know better what the definition of a victim is.

  • A.A Yassin May 6, 2013

    You are obsessed by Issaias. It is not healthy. Relax.

    • MightyEmbasoyra May 6, 2013

      He is the current leader (if you prefer Dicator) of Eritrea. Who would I blame then? What is your recommendation?

      • A.A Yassin May 6, 2013

        The Popular Front is the best that we can have at this very important moment in the history of Eritrea. We are in the process of nation building. We have to stand behind the President Issaias Afeworki Abraham. His leadership quality has been proven beyond doubt.

        • MightyEmbasoyra May 6, 2013

          “His leadership quality has been proven beyond doubt.”
          I agree with you on this. I have never seen any leadership like isayas’s. He is indeed the leader of destruction. We are going backward.
          People have to get in line for a piece of bread.
          Getting electricity is like a breakthrough technology – because it is 10% or so.
          Anti educated people
          Anti rich people
          and as the whole anti Eritrea.

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