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Friday, 18 October, 2002, 07:14 GMT 08:14 UK
US presses Eritrea on detained staff
The United States has called on Eritrea to either release or bring to trial two US embassy employees who have been held without charge for more than a year.

The two men, Ali Alamin and Kiflom Gebremichael, worked in the political and economic affairs department of the embassy in Asmara.

They were detained last year shortly after the US issued a statement condemning restrictions on political dissent in Eritrea.

US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said 11 prominent Eritreans had also been detained without trial after calling for greater democracy.

He said that over the past year, the Eritrean Government had shut down independent media, detained journalists and restricted freedom of religion.

The US has urged Eritrea to respect fundamental human rights and democratic values.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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