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Eritrea: Prisons are part of everyday life for thousands of families, rare video footage from two notorious prison gates

(Asmara 01-06-2015) The Regime in Eritrea Continues to hold thousands of prisoners accused of attempting to leave the country or evading national service and families of those in detention spend hours queuing in the sun in the hope of being able to deliver food and clothing to their loved ones.

Video footage from May 2015 obtained by Freedom Friday (Arbi Harnet) activists inside the country shows hundreds of family members outside Adi-Abeyto and Hashferay prisons where thousands of people are believed to be detained for periods ranging from few weeks to several years.

Adi Abeto (near Asmara) is the main prison for Asmara and the surrounding areas, shipping containers as well as prison cells are used as detention and punishment facilities here. The conditions in the shipment containers are said to be appalling with no sanitation facilities and unbearable temperatures. The prison came to attention in Nov 2004 when several detainees were trampled to death during a foiled attempted escape.

Hashferay jail, 18 kilometers away from the town of Haqaz along Karn Agordat road is reputed to be a notorious prison run by General Philipos Woldyohanes. Most detainees are members of the indefinite national service imprisoned for various ‘misdemeanours’ including outstaying their leave or challenging their superiors.

The activists who secretly filmed the footage and smuggled it out of the country say that they took the risk in an effort to show the world the situation in Eritrea that is the root cause of the mass migration out of the country.

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