Release Prisoner Held Without Charges for 14 Years

Target: Isaias Afwerki, President of Eritrea

Goal: Release uncharged prisoner Aster Fissehatsion.

Aster Fissehatsion has been in prison since 2001 without a criminal charge or trial. This prisoner of conscience has not been heard from for 14 years. She is a wife and a mother, and no one knows of her fate. She was arrested alongside her husband and nine other political dissidents for exercising her freedom of expression. We must demand the release of this woman immediately.

Fissehatsion and her husband, Mahmoud Ahmed Sheriffo, were members of the Eritrea People’s Front for Democracy and Justice Party, the only political party in the nation. At the time of her arrest, the nation was in what Fissehatsion called a “crisis,” and one in which she begged the other members of PFDJ to address in a letter.

Fissehatsion and the 10 other signatories reminded their political colleagues that they were bound by Eritrea’s constitution to conduct their politics in accordance with government and parliamentary procedure. She also noted that the party had failed to keep numerous promises it made to the people regarding a much-needed judicial reform within the country.

On September 18, 2001, eleven people were arrested, and Fissehatsion has never been heard from since. Her son, Ibrahim, has not seen his mother in 14 years. We must demand her immediate release, as she was ill at the time of her arrest, has never been charged with a crime, or given the benefit of a trial. Demand Eritrea’s president release Aster Fissehatsion immediately.


Dear President Afwerki,

I am writing out of deep concern for the human rights of Aster Fissehatsion and the other 10 prisoners who have been detained in Eritrea for 14 years for peacefully exercising freedom of expression and opinion, a right in which all humans have.

It is my understanding that Ms. Fissehatsion’s family has not been heard from her since her arrest. In fact, we do not know what her mental and physical condition is, and this is unthinkable considering she has never been charged of a crime, much less been afforded the international right to legal representation.

By keeping Ms. Fissehatsion’s whereabouts a secret, and preventing her from the basic rights of legal counsel, a criminal charge, and a fair trial, you remain at risk of violating set international standards designed to protect all human beings.

You cannot keep Ms. Fissehatsion in hiding. This is in serious breach of international standards and places your country at risk of being charged with a crime against humanity. Release Fissehatsion and the other prisoners of conscience immediately.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Freedom4E

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144 Signatures

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