Relatives of COs arrested

Amnesty International reported on 28 July 2005 about the arrest of several hundred relatives of people who have evaded or deserted from the military. The arrests took place in the Debug region of southern Eritrea since 15 July.

Amnesty reported: "Those arrested were the fathers, mothers or other relatives of men or women over the age of 18 who have either failed to report for national service since 1994, failed to attend the compulsory final school year at Sawa military training camp, abandoned their army unit, or left the country illegally. The relatives have been accused of facilitating their evasion of conscription or flight abroad. Officials reportedly offered them release on bail of between 10,000 and 50,000 nakfa (US$660 to US$3,300), if they guaranteed that they would produce their missing relative."

Those arrested are held incommunicado in different prisons. "Many held in Adi Keih town prison reportedly began a hunger strike in protest at their detention and have been moved to Mai Serwa military camp near the capital Asmara", Amnesty reported.

Amnesty International, 28 July 2005, AFR 64/011/2005