Seyoum Tsehaye

Seyoum Tsehaye is a journalist who served in Eritrea’s struggle for independence and after independence, he continued to write about democracy and human rights.

Seyoum Tsehaye is a journalist who served in Eritrea’s struggle for independence. Seyoum’s passion for democracy and human rights awakened during the civil war against the Ethiopian regime, in which he took part as a war photographer. Seyoum assisted in the founding of the first Eritrean state TV channel, serving as the channel’s first director. He worked there for a few years, however, conflicts with the leadership over his critical approach and democratic opinions led to him leaving to work as a freelance journalist.

Seyoum Tsehaye often wrote of the Eritrean regime’s lack of respect for the rights of its people. In 2001, 15 Eritrean politicians, known as the G15, published an article condemning the actions of President Isaias Afewerki and his regime. At the same time, Seyoum wrote an article urging the Eritrean regime to communicate with the people and encourage peace and justice. That year, Seyoum was arrested and arbitrarily detained. His current status and whereabouts are unknown, making him subject to enforced disappearance.

The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights ruled in May 2007 that journalists arrested in September 2001 in Eritrea, which includes Seyoum Tsehaye, were being held in arbitrary and unlawful detention. It called upon the Eritrean government to release the men and compensate them. The Government of Eritrea has ignored the ruling and journalists arrested in September 2001 remain in detention.