Aster Yohannes had been studying in the USA at the time of her husband, Petros Solomon’s arrest. She returned to Eritrea after graduation to be with her children, only to be arrested at the airport.
Aster Yohannes is the wife of Petros Solomon, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Maritime Resources. She had been studying in the USA at the time of her husband’s arrest as part of the G15, which was a group of prominent Eritrean politicians known within the ruling party as the G-15 or Group of 15. She returned to Eritrea after graduation to be with her children after the Eritrean government denied her permission to bring her children to the USA to be with her. She knew there was a risk that she would be arrested but had reportedly received a guarantee of her safety from the government. However, she was arrested upon arrival at Asmara International airport in December 2003. Aster Yohannes has not been charged with a crime or brought before any court. Nor has she been permitted visits from her lawyer, children or any other relatives. With the authorities refusing to reveal information about her fate or whereabouts, she remains subjected to enforced disappearance.
The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights ruled in November 2003 that G-15 dissenters arrested in September 2001 in Eritrea, which includes Aster Yohannes, were being held in arbitrary and unlawful detention. It called upon the Eritrean government to release and compensate them. The Government of Eritrea has ignored the ruling and the G-15 members arrested in September 2001 remain in detention.