"Crime" & Punishment In Eritrea Print E-mail
By Name Withheld (Eritrea) - Jun 05, 2004   

I read many times in your articles "helicopter" as inhumane punishment. I intend to inform you of other types of cruelties the PFDJ is committing on its forced conscripts. Some are below.  

(1) Helicopter ?The soldier would be made to lie on his chest and his elbow is tied twisted to his back. His/her feet is also folded back and tied together. The victim whose hand and feet tied on his/her back looks a helicopter. He may stay in that position for three or more days. Milk may be poured on the victim so that flies would bite him/her. Or he may be made to roll on mud.

(2) Jesus Christ ? The soldier would lean over a tree. If there is no tree around, a big log is used. (We used to carry one log for that purpose whenever we move.) Then, two hands would be tied together with the tree. The two feet would also be tied the same way. Usually a place on an edge of an escarpment would be chosen. The victim will stay in that position for three or more days, untied only for meal.

(3) Tear & Burn:  The soldier would be forced to run barefoot on sharp stones, usually at noon, on hot places

(4) Mosquito Lake: The soldier would strip to his pants only and forced to spend a night or more locked in a mosquito populated area.  An example would be a bathing /washing places.

(5) Shave & Shoot:  The punishment for women deserters is to have their heads shaved.  Men would be executed.  This was practiced until 2000.

(6) Deny & Isolate: A victim who intentionally injured himself/herself would be denied medical treatment and isolated.  By the way, it is not uncommon to see people who commit self-injury because the Eritrean army has a substantial number of psycho pathetic, epileptic, diabetic and asthmatic peoples who are very much stressed and poorly medicated. 

(7) Kfel (pay up): The soldier is forced to pay the price of any armament and tools he/she lost or is missing, for whatever reason. I remember a platoon paying for water tankers lost due to flooding.

(8) Sdrabet (Family):  If a soldier escapes to Ethiopia, the soldier?s mother, father, sister, brother son or daughter is arrested for a month or longer.  

These are just some of the punishments practiced. There is no written rule and regulation to implement these punishments. The soldier does not expect a certain punishment for particular misdeeds. It all depends on the commander of the unit on when and how to punish.  The commander can inflict any of the above-mentioned punishments for whatever misdeeds.

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