|At least 40 Muslim clerics were arrested by soldiers|
|Wednesday, 19 October 2011 23:40|
ERITREA Sheikh Siraj Ona Ali
Muhammad Saleh Abed-allah
Basha Muhammad Sulieman
Muhammad Khiri Haj, Mussa Muslim clerics
Othman Mahmoud Adam
Nur Abdu Nur
Ben Al-Khadi Ali
At least 29 others, including scholars
At least 40 Muslim clerics and scholars, including those named above, were arrested by soldiers on 13 and 14 August in the capital, Asmara and the towns of Senafe, Adi Keyh, Tsorona, Segeneiti, Dekemhare, Foro, Hadish, and Idafalo in the coastal Red Sea region. They were arrested in the middle of the night and taken away in unmarked cars. They are held incommunicado in undisclosed locations, which puts them in danger of torture.
Thousands of people are detained incommunicado in Eritrea without ever facing charge or trial. They are arrested for reasons including opposition to the government, being members of banned evangelical or other churches, evading military conscription or trying to flee the country. Sunni Islam is one of the four officially recognized religions in Eritrea, along with the Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran Christian churches.
Conditions of detention are harsh and prisoners are regularly tortured and otherwise ill-treated. A common method of punishment is tying detainees in painful positions known as the "helicopter" and the "eight position" and leaving them exposed to the sun for long periods.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English or your own language:
calling on the authorities to disclose the names and whereabouts of the Muslim clerics and scholars arrested on 13 and 14 August, and give them immediate access to their families, legal representation and any medical treatment they may require;
calling on them to ensure that all the detainees are brought before a court and charged with recognizably criminal offences, or immediately released.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 17 October 2008.