Eritrea: Release former finance minister immediately and unconditionally

Following the arrest of a former Eritrean finance minister, Berhane Abrehe, after he published a book critical of President Isaias Afwerki and his government, Amnesty International is demanding his immediate and unconditional release.

The arrest of Mr Berhane Abrehe for the sole reason of him expressing his views on the state of governance in his country is a disappointing development that further tarnishes Eritrea’s already deplorable human rights record.
Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

“The arrest of Mr Berhane Abrehe for the sole reason of him expressing his views on the state of governance in his country is a disappointing development that further tarnishes Eritrea’s already deplorable human rights record,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“It is high time the Eritrean authorities respect their people’s human right to freedom of expression and allow them to speak openly on matters that are at the core of their present and future wellbeing.

They must immediately and unconditionally release Mr Abrehe together with his wife, Almaz Habtemariam, who has been languishing in jail for a year because she allowed their son to leave the country without the government’s permission.
Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

“They must immediately and unconditionally release Mr Abrehe together with his wife, Almaz Habtemariam, who has been languishing in jail for a year because she allowed their son to leave the country without the government’s permission.”

Background

Berhane Abrehe, who was Finance Minister until 2014, was arrested on 17 September 2018, barely a week after publishing a book, in two volumes, entitled Eritrea Hagerey, which translates as Eritrea My Country.

The book criticizes the current political system in Eritrea and calls on Eritreans to use peaceful means to ensure that democracy becomes institutionalized in the country.

Ahead of the launch of his book on 11 September, Berhane challenged President Isaias Afwerki to a televised public debate to discuss the suffering he had caused Eritreans.