ELS Secures the Grant of Provisional Measures from the African Commission
Based on a request for an urgent appeal, filed on 12 October 2018, ELS has just secured the grant of Provisional Measures, delivered by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Provisional Measures, set out below, are related to the plight of Mr. Berhane Abrehe Kidane, the former Minister of International Development and Finance of Eritrea. The urgent appeal was jointly filed by ELS and Mr. Solomon H. Weldekirstos (a nephew of Mr. Kidane).
Mr. Kidane was unlawfully detained and subjected to incommunicado detention on 17 September 2018, few days after he published a two-volume book and released an audio-recorded message, critical of the President of Eritrea. His whereabouts remain unknown. He had not been brought before a competent court of law, nor has he been allowed to contact his family, a doctor, or a lawyer of his choice. No official account has been given about his predicament. He has a very poor medical history, necessitating the request for urgent appeal, based on which the Commission issued the Provisional Measures.
The Commission granted the Provisional Measures in exactly the same fashion as requested in the urgent appeal. Having decided to be seized of the matter, the Commission formally registered the complaint as: Communication 704/18 – Berhane Abrehe Kidane (represented by Solomon Weldekirstos and Eritrean Law Society) v. The State of Eritrea
. The Commission also adopted the following Provisional Measures, requesting the State of Eritrea to:
- End the incommunicado detention of the victim by disclosing his location, providing him with access to legal representation of his choice as well as regular and unhindered access to his family;
- Inform the victim of the reason for his arrest, and bring him before a competent court of law within the shortest possible time, or alternatively if no charges are brought against the victim, to ensure his immediate release;
- Provide the victim access to regular and unhindered necessary access to medical and health care, including his provisional release on bail as applicable within the domestic law to attain necessary medical treatment; and
- Guarantee the victim’s safety and well-being whilst in custody
The request for Provisional Measures was communicated to the President of Eritrea in a letter dated 29 October 2018, with reference number: ACHPR/PROVM/ERI/704/18/1689/18. The Eritrean Government is requested to report back to the Commission on the implementation of the Provisional Measures within 15 days of receipt of the request.
The complainants are very grateful for the Commission’s swift action, given that the matter requires urgent intervention as requested in their joint application. The complainants would also like to take this occasion to thank the following partner organisations (listed in alphabetical order) for the different roles they have played, in support of the case at hand, during the first week of the 63rd Ordinary Session of the Commission: Africa Regional Programme of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ); ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa; Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria; East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (DefendDefenders); Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA); Reporters Without Boarders Swedish Section.
Over and above submitting the Communication related to the plight of Mr. Kidane, ELS has also attended some of the public meetings of the Commission’s 63rd Ordinary Session, taking place in Banjul (The Gambia), from 24 October to 13 November 2018. In the public session of 27 October 2018, the Director of ELS made a statement on behalf of the Swedish Section of Reporters Without Boarders. The full version of the statement is available here: https://erilaw.org/statement-read-at-the-63rd-ordinary-session-of-the-african-commission/