In an interview conducted with Voice of America(VOA Tigrigna program), Hanna Simon, Eritrean Ambassador in France, revealed her involvement in her sister’s release, Ruth Simon, from detention who was detained on April 25, 1997 for reporting what President Isaias Afewerki said in a seminar during Sudan – South Sudan war of separation.
Ruth Simon was the first journalist to be detained in Eritrea. Though the reason for her detention was not a secret in its time, Ambassador Hanna Simon stated she [her sister] had an issue with the government without giving further information.
VOA journalist, Tewelde Woldegebriel, asked Ambassador Hanna Simon why she was imprisoned and if she ever happened to intervene in her sister’s case. Without elaborating in detail(she said that she can’t say more in this interview), the Ambassador could not deny her involvement
In her words [Translated from Tigrigna],
“I don’t know why I have to be asked again and again about my sister. Yes, she was in prison, because she had some issues with the government. And it was settled and she was released. Yeah, may be, I played some role in helping her get released. But I am not here to speak about it. It’s a closed case. Why is she not working as a journalist, you have to ask her. May be she doesn’t like the profession. At this time she has another job and she is living happily with her family. Even she visited [me] two or three times since my arrival in Paris”
When she was asked about other journalists who are still in prison, she said that she works in diplomacy and she has nothing to do about those in jail.
This is a bizarre response recalling what she did in regard to her involvement in her sister’s case.
Ruth Simon was a free correspondent for the news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) at the time of her detention on April 25, 1997. She is the first detained journalist in Eritrea after independence. There is no official information about her date of release and where she is about now.
For more information about Ruth Simon, click here