Excerpts from Radio Wegahta
Fifteen out of the thirty five Eritrean political detainees are now confirmed dead, nine are struggling with serious health condition, among them former foreign affairs Minister Haile Weldetnsa’e (Durue) hasf now totally lostf his sight and emaciated, according to Eyob Bahta Habtemariam, who has been serving as a team leader of the prison guard of Era’eRo and Embatkala, ever since September 2001. He disclosed a detailed account of his experience in an interview with Radio Wegahta on Saturday 3rd of April 2010, shortly after absconding to Ethiopia.
As Eyob stated Journalist Dawit Isack, who was released just for a couple of days in 2005, as of 2006 he has been relocated to Era’eRo prison, signalling all the diplomatic efforts to secure his release by the European Union is in a dead lock .
As the eye witness further explained Dawit is now suffering from serious mental illness. [asmarino note: Dawit Habtemicheal is the one suffering mental illness]
Three out of the fifteen detainees, who lost their life, were in Embatkala prison. General Okbe Abraha attempted suicide; his life was saved after receiving urgent medical treatment that lasted for three months in Glass, a military hospital 15 km. west of Keren. However, his health condition farther exacerbated as he was already battling with asthma, which lead to his death shortly after his return to Embatkala in 2002. Journalist Fessehaye Yohannes (Joshua) made several unsuccessful attempts to commit suicide, finally, he was found hanged in his cell in 2003. Minister Mahmoud Sherifo followed them; his death is attributed due the lack of urgent medical treatment.
In mid 2003, the entire group relocated to the newly built Gestapo of Eritrea Era’eRo, the prison was built with an intention to inflict a slow painful death on the detainees. And what Eyob has been witnessing for the last nine years is exactly the same, one after the other they are dying in silence, which consequently lead to Eyobs’ decision to escape before it is too late, fearing once all of the detainees are finished the prison guards could also be exterminated by the regime, in order to bury the secrets of this atrocious death camp.
As Eyob explained Journalist Yosuf Mohamed Ali, Aster Fessehasion , Minister Salih Kekiya, all of them died within a range three days in June 2003 as a result the hot weather of the area. Former admistrator of Sorona Subzone Tesfagiorgish committed suicide, Journalist Medhanie Haile died due to the lack of medical treatment in 2004. Germano Nati administrator of Southern Red sea region, died in June 2009. Journalist Sied Abdelkadir committed suicide in 2004, the list goes on.
Nine of the remaining twenty detainees are now in a state of bad health, and Eyob fears they too could die soon unless something is done urgently to save their lives. Eyob also farther noted that what has been reported by some media regarding Petros Solomn’s release from prison for medical treatment is baseless. Except two former employees of the US embassy, who were only allowed to leave the prison for a brief period, no one has ever been given a single chance to leave the prison for all kinds of reasons.