Så fungerar Eritreas fängelser

För den som vill veta mer om hur det eritreanska fängelsesystemet fungerar kan jag rekommendera Awates intervju med Mehari Yohannes, fångvaktaren som hjälpte studentledaren Semere Kesete att rymma ur fängelset.

Redan som femtonåring tog Mehari 1988 värving i befrielsearmén och tjänstgjorde i underrättelsetjänsten till självständighetsförklaringen. 1997 förflyttades han till polisens utredningsrotel i Asmara och polisstation 6, som hade en avdelning för vanliga brott och en för politiska fångar.

Mehari beskriver hur godtyckligt det eritreanska fängelsesystemet fungerar:

”When one is arrested, there is no record of who the arresting officer is, and what the charges against the arrested are. Often, the arresting officer is reassigned and, for years, the case of the arrested is forgotten. For example, there was an employee of the American Embassy who was there for two years in the Sixth Police Station? The arresting officers had no idea why he was arrested. […]

There is no formal system that tells you your crimes. When you are jailed, you are not told how long you will be jailed. If you are lucky, you get released; if you are not lucky, you don?t. Sometimes, they tell you so-and-so is released but then you get confused when the families of those who are supposedly released come to ask you of the whereabouts of the jailed family members.”

Han berättar också om Karsheli, där Dawit Isaak hålls fängslad:

”Karsheli has two parts: It houses people arrested for petty crimes (like theft) and people whose arrest is known to family members. […] It also houses people whose whereabouts are unknown by family members. If you are released, you are warned to never talk about what you had seen or heard. […]

Who is responsible and who authorises all of these jailings?

What I can tell you is that the system is responsible. It is all done by phones; there is no written record. Everybody is just following orders from above. The orders are: ”detain this person under tight security.”

I juli 2002 hjälpte Mehari Yohannes alltså Semere Kesete, som suttit ett år i isoleringscell i polisstation 6, att fly över gränsen till Etiopien. I dag har båda fått asyl i Sverige.

Semeres berättelse om sin politiska kamp som ordförande för studentkåren vid Asmara universitet, om tiden i fängelset och den dramatiska flykten, finns att läsa i Dawit och friheten.

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