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Eritrea24 April 2008

Journalist employed by state-owned Radio Dimtsi Hafash held since 2006

Reporters Without Borders has learned from local sources that Tura Kubaba, a journalist with the Kunama-language service of state-owned Radio Dimtsi Hafash (“Voice of the Masses”), has been detained in Eritrea since the second half of 2006 and disappeared last year within the country’s prison system.

“Amid general silence, a new name has been added to the list of journalists who have disappeared in Eritrea’s jails,” the press freedom organisation said. “This tragedy is all the more shocking for the fact that we have learned about this man’s disappearance only two years after the event, because of the wall of terror which the government has built around the country.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “The international community’s lack of resolve means that free Eritreans and their friends are reduced to impotently counting the victims of the despotic policies imposed by the man who likes to pose as their liberator, President Issaias Afeworki.”

Arrested some time between August and December 2006, Kubaba was initially incarcerated in “Track-B,” a military prison in a western suburb of Asmara. Run by an officer known as “Colonel Berhane,” this centre consists of undergrounds cells and metal containers holding a total of about 2,000 detainees.

In the course of 2007, Kubaba was transferred from there to an unknown place of detention.

Aged about 40, Kubaba is a member of the Kunama, a minority ethnic group in western Eritrea. A local source said he was accused of having “contacts with Kunama organisations.”

Kubaba’s case brings to 16 the number of Eritrean journalists whose imprisonment can be confirmed. According to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, at least four of the 10 journalists who were arrested in the September 2001 round-ups - including the well-known co-founder of the weekly Setit, Fessehaye “Joshua” Yohannes - died in the top-security Eiraeiro prison camp in the northeast of the country.

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