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Torture in Eritrea: ‘Every night you hear shouts and cries of people being beaten’

Posted by Ethio Tribune on June 27, 2013

Kidane Isaac says he never thought he was going to see hell, but that was before he was arrested and incarcerated in some of Eritrea’s notorious detention centres.

“Every night you hear shouts and cries of people being beaten. I remember I was beaten very terribly, with metal bars,” he told Amnesty International from his home in Israel where he now lives as an asylum-seeker.

Kidane was 18 years old and had been working as a construction worker when he was detained as he attempted to flee the country to escape indefinite conscription to national service. For six months, Kidane was held in three different detention centres. He described terrible conditions in the prisons, where torture and other ill-treatment, including severe beatings, were common.

“The second place I was imprisoned in [was] Mai Edaga. There are two holes, covered with a zinc cover, it was very crowded, we got two breads a day, there were flies all the time, it was very dirty. It is a very terrible place,” Kidane said.

“We were arrested out of the blue and taken to prison. There was no accusation, no interview. There was no lawyer. It was crazy,” he said.

Kidane’s story mirrors that of thousands of other Eritreans, who have been detained without charge or trial – some for up to 20 years. Amnesty International estimates that at least 10,000 political prisoners have been arbitrarily detained by the government of President Isaias Afewerki, who has ruled since the country’s independence in 1993.

“Twenty years on from the euphoric celebrations of independence, Eritrea is one of the most repressive, secretive and inaccessible countries in the world,” said Claire Beston, Amnesty International’s Eritrea researcher.>>>read more

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