Stephen Hughes MEP has been contacted by many of his constituents throughout the North East of England concerning the treatment of Aster Fissehatsion, the former Director of the Eritrean Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

North East human rights activists asked Mr Hughes to intervene with the European Commission and to call on the Eritrean authorities to unconditionally release all political prisoners including Ms Aster Fissehatsion.

Speaking today Mr Hughes said:-

"Baroness Ashton has assured me that the European Union has repeatedly called on the Eritrean authorities to give unconditional release to all political prisoners, including Ms Fissehatsion.  I will continue to press Baroness Ashton and others within the European Commission to raise the matter of political prisoners within its political dialogue with the Eritrean Government.

"Despite repeated EU appeals at various levels on every possible occasion, prisoners like Ms Fissehatsion remain in detention.  None of them have ever been formally charged in court, and their fate remains unknown.  Families, legal representatives and medical doctors have been denied access to the individuals.  This conduct is in clear violation of the obligations established in international law, to which Eritrea is party.

"The Eritrean administration is fully aware of its international obligations, of the EU expectations, as well as of European citizens concerns.  I, along with many interested human rights activists in the North East of England will not let this matter rest."

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