September 16, 2005

US Embassy Employees Involved in Human-Trafficking?

Eritrea holds U.S. embassy staff for trafficking:

Eritrea has arrested two local employees of the U.S. embassy in Asmara on charges of human trafficking, the government said on Thursday -- the latest in a series of diplomatic difficulties between the two countries.

"These parties are accountable to the law for their illicit engagement in activities of human trafficking and, as such, like all other wrongdoers, they are being held under custody for their offence," Information Minister Ali Abdu Ahmed said.

The minister, speaking to Reuters in Nairobi by telephone, would not give more details of the incident.

Several weeks ago Eritrea's rebel movement-turned-government asked the U.S. government's overseas development agency, USAID, to leave without any public explanation.

The two countries are also still at odds over the arrest in 2001 of two other local employees of the embassy.

The U.S. mission in Asmara would not confirm or deny the latest arrests. A spokesman added that the two employees arrested in 2001 were still being held without charge despite Washington's repeated demands for their release or trial.

Abdu said Eritrea, which lies in the Horn of Africa, had a sovereign obligation to act in its national interests. "Like in any other sovereign states, citizens, irrespective of where they work, are accountable to the laws of the land," he said.

I don't buy this...

Again, like the article stated, Eritrea-US relations have been a bit diplomatically-iffy, needless to say, especially since Eritrea believes neighboring Ethiopia receives more international aid/attention then they do.

Countries ruled by "rebel movements" don't rank high on my legitimacy scale, either --- especially when the make claims such as these.

If anyone runs across further developments of this incident, drop me a line. Since the names of the embassy staff members were not released, it might prove difficult to track this case.

Posted by Kyer at September 16, 2005 07:29 PM | TrackBack