Mahmoud Ahmed Sheriffo

Mahmoud Sheriffo was one of the most revered freedom fighters of the Eritrean independence struggle.

Mahmoud Ahmed Sheriffo joined the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) in 1967 and was one of the most revered fighters of the Eritrean independence struggle. He is the ex-husband of Aster Fessehatsion, a woman who was former Director in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and executive member of the official National Union of Eritrean Women. He was former Minister of Foreign Affairs and served as Vice President of Eritrea until he was dissed in early 2001 for attempting to draft a law that would allow for multi-party election in the country.

He signed an open letter by a group of dissenting political leaders to President Isaias Afwerki asking him to implement the constitution and to have open elections. These leaders are commonly referred to as the G-15 or Group of 15. Mahmoud Sheriffo was subsequently arrested with ten other signatories to the letter on 18 September 2001. The status of his health and whereabouts are unknown.

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 Mahmoud Sheriffo, 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.