More punishment of the innocent

Ciham Ali Abdu
Ciham Ali Abdu

What kind of crime can a fifteen-year-old child Ciham, Ali Abdu, be guilty of to merit imprisonment incommunicado?

The “crime” is that her father, Ali Abdu, the former Information Minister, defected to Australia in November 2012. Since December 2012, his daughter has been imprisoned by Isaias Afewerki, who, as always, employs the Mafia technique that if they cannot punish you directly, they get to your family. In addition, his father, Mr Abdu Ahmed Yonis, who is 86, and his brother, Hassen Abdu Ahmed, who is 38, are also in prison.

Ciham was fifteen when she was cruelly put in prison. A year later, she is still a child, locked up incommunicado, no one to care for her, no one to talk to, no one to turn to.

The very young and the very old, indeed all ages, have been punished indiscriminately.

The psychological and physical cruelty of Eritrea’s prisons has been well documented by Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE), other Eritrean and international human rights organisations. Prisoners are routinely beaten and tortured. Most are constantly in handcuffs.

In 2005, HRCE obtained reliable information that Ciham Ali Abdu was denied an exit visa to visit her mother who was residing in the USA at that time.

So, even the former friend of the oppressor can be oppressed. It would seem the entire country is run by bullying and oppression. Even those in high office are not immune.

Having been born in America, Ciham is of American nationality by default; it may interest the American government that an American national is being held prisoner in an Eritrean prison.

What crime has Ciham committed? The crime of being born to Eritrean parents in the most oppressed country in Africa.

HRCE is concerned for the well-being of Ciham, her grandfather and her uncle, and the thousands like them, who have been detained incommunicado under harsh prison conditions.

Human Rights Concern – Eritrea
5 November 2013