Eritrean MP Beraki Gebreslassie has been held incommunicado without trial since 2001, one of a group of 11 seized after criticizing the country’s president, Isaias Afwerki.
Beraki Gebreslassie was Eritrea’s ambassador to Germany until May 2001, when he joined a group of government critics in signing an open letter calling for democratic change in the one-party state.
Like many of the other detainees, Beraki Gebreslassie, born in 1946, was a veteran of the struggle for independence from Ethiopia. He had previously served as minister of education and minister of information and culture before becoming an ambassador.
He and the other detainees were denied any access to their families or lawyers, and were never tried or charged. No word of them has been received since their detention.
Beraki Gebreslassie was said to suffer from a chronic kidney condition, which allegedly led to his death in custody in 2007. The government has never confirmed the reports that he and many of the other detainees died in custody.