Aster Fissehatsion

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Aster Fissehatsion
Born 1951
Nationality Eritrean
Occupation politician
Known for 2001 imprisonment
Political party People's Front for Democracy and Justice
Spouse(s) Mahmoud Ahmed Sherifo (former)

Aster Fissehatsion (also known as Astier Fesehazion) (born 1951) is an Eritrean politician and an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience. She is the former wife of former Vice-President of Eritrea, Mahmoud Ahmed Sherifo.[1]

She was detained in September 2001 for being part of the G-15. On 18 September 2001, she was detained indefinitely along with other politicians of G-15, a group which opposed the rule of Eritrean president Isaias Afewerki. Aster along with 15 other ministers were detained in unknown location ever since. The ministers were criticizing the border war of the then president, Isaia and signed an open letter.

Political life[edit]

She joined Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) in 1974 and became a leading figure in the struggle for independence in Eritrea. Following independence, she held the following positions: member of the Central Council of People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ)(In 1994, the EPLF changed its name to PFDJ) member of the National Assembly; Director of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.[1]

In 1996, Fissehatsion was dismissed from her job for criticising the increasingly authoritarian government, but was reinstated in 1999. In May 2001, she was one of 15 senior party officials, later known as the G-15, who published an open letter calling for "peaceful and democratic dialogue"; and calling on President Isaias Afewerki to adhere to correct parliamentary and governance procedures, hold internal party meetings, and keep the promises made by the PFDJ in respect of judicial reform.[1]

Arrest[edit]

She was detained in September 2001 for being part of the G-15. On 18 September 2001, she was detained indefinitely along with other politicians of G-15, a group which opposed the rule of Eritrean president Isaias Afewerki. Aster along with ten other ministers were detained in unknown location ever since. The ministers were criticizing the border war of the then president, Isaia and signed an open letter.[2] He was considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.[3] Since the arrest, various governments and self help groups have sought the Eritrean government to the release of the arrested. A mass campaign was launched in Amnesty International during 2011 to the effect.[4] Amnesty International declared her and the ten others arrested as prisoner of conscience and sought immediate release of them.[3] She was the only woman out of the 11 who were detained and out of the 15 who opposed, three fled the country and one withdrew support.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Glenys Kinnock (28 February 2008). "It could have been me". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Connell, Dan; Killion, Tom (2010). Historical Dictionary of Eritrea. Scarecrow Press. p. 421. ISBN 9780810875050. 
  3. ^ a b "Eritrea: Prisoners of conscience held for a decade must be released". Amnesty International. 15 September 2011. Archived from the original on 3 December 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Eritrean Leaders Held Incommunicado for a Decade". All Africa. 15 September 2011. Archived from the original on 28 December 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Eritrea urged to free dissident Aster Fissehatsion". BBC. 15 September 2011. Archived from the original on 13 November 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2011.