Skip to main content
Human rights cases

Ogbe Abraha, Eritrea

Eritrean MP Ogbe Abraha has been held incommunicado without trial since 2001, one of a group of 11 seized after criticizing the country’s president, Isaias Afwerki.

Ogbe Abraha, the former chief-of-staff of armed forces in Eritrea, held several posts in the government, including minister of trade and industry and minister of labour and social welfare, before being arrested in 2001.

Born in 1948, he was one of 11 MPs detained on treason charges after signing an open letter critical of the president. The letter called for “peaceful and democratic dialogue and the rule of law”.

The detained MPs were denied access to lawyers and their families, and have been held ever since without charge or trial.

According to unconfirmed reports, Abraha attempted suicide while incarcerated, but was saved after medical attention in hospital.

However, after returning to prison his health is said to have deteriorated further, and he is thought to have died of asthma shortly after being taken back to Embatkala prison in 2002. The authorities have never confirmed this, or the reported deaths of other members of the group.