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Eritrea: Prisoners

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Eritrean Government on arrests of UK nationals in Eritrea; and how many such people have been arrested there in the last five years. (286456)

From our consular records we are aware of four British nationals who have been arrested or detained in Eritrea since 2004.

In one case we were informed of the detention only after the individual had been released. In the other three cases we contacted the authorities to clarify the situation and requested consular access.

Of those three cases, two were subsequently released. We have been unable to confirm the release of the other individual, as the Eritrean authorities do not acknowledge the UK’s interest in the person concerned (a dual British-Eritrean national resident in Eritrea) as a British national, and will not discuss the case with consular staff, despite representations.