Nu publicerar också Reportrar utan gränser uppgifter om att den eritreanske journalisten och dramatikern Fessehaye “Joshua” Yohannes ska ha dött i fängelse den 11 januari 2007, som vi skrev om i förra veckan. Pressfrihetsorganisationen hänvisar till trovärdiga källor i Asmara och utomlands.
Om uppgifterna är sanna är det en motbjudande tragedi, som bara förvärras av att europeiska regeringar är så medgörliga gentemot Eritreas regering, konstaterar Reportrar utan gränser. Bevisbördan ligger nu på den eritreanska regeringen att klargöra vad som har hänt de fängslade journalisterna:
“The Eritrean government must prove to us that Joshua did not die or, at the very least, it should hand over his body to his wife and two sons. It should prove to us that journalists Medhane Haile, Said Abdelkader and Yusuf Mohamed Ali are still alive, contrary to the reports we have received of their deaths. And it should tell us where it has imprisoned the journalists who are being held incommunicado, and explain the crimes it has committed with complete impunity since 2001.”
Vidare kritiserar Reportrar utan gränser EU, i synnerhet Frankrike och den forna kolonialmakten Italien, för att ha normaliserat relationerna till Eritrea:
After being the target of sharp criticism from the international community, Eritrea seems to be respectable again, given its involvement in several regional crises, including the Somali one. France has played a key role in the normalisation of its relations with the European Union. Brigitte Girardin, the acting French minister for cooperation and development, made an official visit to Eritrea on 23 September 2006. It was “the first visit by a minister since independence,” according to the French foreign ministry. There was no public mention of the detainees.
Eritrea’s former ambassador to France, Hanna Simon, received the Order of Knights of the Legion of Honour in a ceremony staged by the French embassy in Asmara last December. The French foreign ministry told Reporters Without Borders it was above all in recognition for “her commitment to the cause of women.” European development commissioner Louis Michel made an official visit to Eritrea on 1 February without publicly referring to the issue of the detainees.
The former colonial power in the Horn of Africa, Italy also maintains special links with the Eritrean government. Prime Minister Romano Prodi received Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki during a private visit to Italy on 4 December. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi invited President Issaias on several occasions to spend a few days of vacation at his villa in Sardinia.