By Toby Collins
November 1, 2011 (LONDON) – The press freedom advocacy organisation, Reporters with Borders (RSF), has expressed concerns regarding Jamal Osman Hamad’s fate, in light of the thawing of relations between Sudan and Eritrea.
Exiled Eritrean journalist and human rights campaigner, Hamad was arrested by Sudanese authorities on 24 October.
Although Sudan has a woeful history of press freedom; in the 2010 RSF index it was ranked in place 172 out of 178 countries, Eritrea’s is worse; in 2010 it held last place.
RSF urged the international community to press Sudan to release Hamad and to not hand him over to Asmara. It calls upon the ‘European Union and the international community’ to take immediate action to prevent a ‘tragedy’ from occurring.
Hamad, who runs the Eritrean opposition website, www.adoulis.com, has been un-contactable since his arrest in October.
‘The journalist has been held incommunicado for three days and we fear he may be deported to Eritrea,’ RSF stated.
It describes Eritrean press freedom as ‘among the most alarming in the world’ and his says his extradition would condemn him to an ‘intolerable fate.’
Past animosity between the governments of Asmara and Khartoum made Sudan a relative self-haven for exiled Eritreans.
Previously there have been suggestions that Eritrea supported Sudanese opposition groups including the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, which concluded in South Sudan’s secession in 2011.
It is also claimed that Eritrea had a hand in the rebellion in East Sudan which ended in a peace deal in 2006.
The president of Eritrea, Isias Afwerki, visited Sudan in October, where he held talks with his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir regarding the strengthening of bi-lateral relations.