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Eritrea: Female Eritrean Air Force Captain Defects to Saudi Arabia

Posted by Ethio Tribune on April 9, 2013

Addis Ababa — A female Eritrean Air Force pilot has defected to Saudia Arabia where he is seeking political asylum in Saudi Arabia, in in a latest sign of embarrassment to the dictatorial regime in Asmara.

Captain Rahwa Gebrekristos deserted to Saudi Arabia after being sent to the kingdom last week on assignment to retrieve a presidential jet that had been waiting for return following the defection of another two air force pilots last year.

However, like her two former colleagues, Yonas Woldeab and his deputy Mekonnen Debesay, who secretly flew president Isaias Afewerki’s plane to Saudi Arabia last October before defecting, Gebrekristos is also claiming asylum.

Opposition sources allege that Eritrean authorities are secretly consulting with their Saudi counterparts to deport the 34-year-old pilot. She is currently being held at a police station in the western city of Jizan until Saudi authorities decide on her fate.

An Eritrean opposition official told Sudan Tribune that if Gebrekristos is deported she could face torture or other inhuman treatments, as well as a long-term prison sentence or even the death penalty. Under Eritrean law, military members who defect are considered traitors, a crime punishable by death…click here to read more>>

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