Eritrean Regime Crimes Exposed by Anonymous Facebook User

An administrator calling himself Samuel publishes official papers as a protest against 'Africa's North Korea,' a country that secretly incarcerates thousands.

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Screenshot of the Facebook page administered anonymously to publicize the regime's crimes that thousands of young people are fleeing.
Screenshot of the Facebook page administered anonymously to publicize the regime's crimes that thousands of young people are fleeing.Credit: Facebook screenshot

An anonymous Facebook user has been posting documents since February showing how the Eritrean authorities abuse their citizens, the Guardian newspaper has reported.

With more than 17,000 followers the page called SACTISM- Classified Documents of the Dwindling PFDJ says it has information documenting human rights abuses by the ruling party of President Isaias Afwerki, the Democratic Front for Democracy and Justice.

The page’s administrator, posting documents that appear to be mostly in the local language of Tigriniya, identifies himself as Samuel, an Eritrean underground blogger.

He posts documents he collected while working in the nation’s capital of Asmara, exposing the sins of country he has dubbed as “Africa’s North Korea,” and known for being one of the world’s greatest human rights violaters.

Amnesty estimates that the Eritrean government holds some 10,000 political prisoners in more than 360 secret jails. As a result, thousands of young men and women have fled the country. Many have also arrived in Israel.

In 2014 50,000 Eritreans sought asylum in Europe. The United Nations estimates that 5,000 citizens leave the country each month.

The Facebook page attracts the interest of many Eritrean expatriates although the authenticity of the documents is difficult to establish. The posts include information about prisoners held for more than 14 years in secret Eritrean jails. Some posts have been read aloud on Eritrean radio stations abroad.

 “The page is shaking the status quo, Daniel Mekonen, an Eritrean attorney living in Geneva, told the Guardian.

“It’s difficult to assess the information’s authenticity, “Mekonen said. “But some of the readers have assessed on their own that the information is credible. Others have criticized the way in which it is published.”

Evet Waldmichael, an African history professor at Queens University in Canada says there’s an ethnical problem with how the imformation is published. “I'm not sure whether it helps the families of those who have disappeared to see details about them on Facebook.”

Facebook at first blocked the page after a petition was circulated alleging that it incited violence. Afterwards Samuel started posting in English. “The regime survives mainly because of the fear it  spreads,” one post said.

Samuel said he has decided to fight against the “disinformation and secrecy” and promises that all the information published on the site is accurate.

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