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Asmara Military Police arrested 6 gay men in October 11/03

November 5, 2003

by BTM Horn of Africa correspondent Harrow Johannesburg
Despite the fact that homosexuality is legal under the interim Eritrean law. Asmara Military Police say those whom they arrested were involved in gay behaviour, gathering in a public bathroom in mid-town Asmara, the county’s capital. After some days spent in the Capital, Military Police then transferred the men to Diabeto, outside Asmara to the north. Diabeto at this time is known as a place where perhaps thousands of political prisoners are held.

Those prisoners who are hidden from the international community, possibly for capital penalization. According to one source in Asmara, no legal case has been opened against these people. Even government hides them from their families and friends. Observers say that last year, in a similar case, the Government radio, Dimitshafash, and TV- Eri (national TV station) aired programmes on the dangers of homosexuality and displayed 5 gay men from the house of detention. In that case, friends and family were still not told where the men were being held. According to the unimplemented Eritrea law, homosexuality is legal but still detention is protracted.