Today  Professor Mirjam van Reisen, a well-known critic of the Eritrean government’s human rights, faced a case for libel and slander, brought by a leading member of the youth wing of Eritrea’s ruling party – the YPFDJ.

This is a rather poor Google translation from the Dutch of an article in de Volkskrant

Eritrean harassment in the Netherlands is expanding

By Marjon Bolwijn, Huib Modderkolk January 27, 2016, 02:00

Interview Mirjam van Reisen Read the interview with Professor Mirjam van Reisen, against whom a lawsuit is filed against slander and libel. “Now I know what it’s like to feel intimidated ‘

In the Eritrean community in the Netherlands and other European countries there is a culture of fear.

The regime exerts through supporters in the diaspora pressure on Eritreans to donate money and not to criticize their homeland. The country is known as one of the most oppressive regimes in the world, which are violated by the United Nations human rights on a large scale.

Professor Mirjam van Reisen is frequently published on Eritrea. Against her is Wednesday a lawsuit. Meseret Bahlbi, an Eritrean living in the Netherlands and an active member of the party of dictator Isaias Afewerki, accusing her of libel and slander.

According Bahlbi it is clear that Van Reisen referred to him as she recently spoke to BNR News Radio saying that the brother of two interpreters for the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) ‘is the pivot of the intelligence service in Eritrea.’

Bahlbi find this accusation unnecessarily offensive, not factually substantiated and damaging to his reputation in the Eritrean community and in the anti-racism movement in the Netherlands in which it operates, according to the documents. Across the Times wants Meseret Bahlbi not respond.


Van Reisen feels harassed for years by some Eritreans.  They claimed that there is “a coup plot against Eritrea.” With some foreign scientists and journalists she has been described as “killer of Eritrea.”

She tells overnight to be chased to get her car on the way home and harassing tweets. “This could be a career-ending case of the both of you” (this case could mean the end of your career) read a tweet with the professor and journalist Sanne Terlingen from the magazine OneWorld two days ago, about today’s lawsuit.

Terlingen also repeatedly says to be intimidated into tweets. “There is deliberate harassment via Twitter and indirect intimidation by the presence of Eritrean men who sit behind the tweets, in places where I go, such as a lecture in a debate center. You do not know if they are out of interest or to intimidate you. I understand now how many Eritreans in the Netherlands must feel, because they have to do for a long time with this kind of situation.”

Incorrect image

After her lecture at the African Studies Centre in Leiden on human rights violations in Eritrea, Eritrean people present in the hall accused her of painting a false picture of Eritrea for political reasons.

The UN rapporteur for human rights in Eritrea, Sheila Keetharuth, has also been dogged in the Netherlands and intimidated. During a visit of several days in September, she was followed on the way to meetings in The Hague and Amsterdam, to her hotel. There she had a “secret”, not publicly accessible room.

An employee of the University who Keetharuth afterwards because of the threatening atmosphere led away to a safe place in the university building, the evening was leaving the house haunted by an African man. She recognized him from the audience at the lecture. In the station, he spoke to her, and asked her to a function at the Student Center. She asked him who he was and the man walked away.

The police maintains its safety in mind, like that of some Eritreans in the Netherlands who have opened their mouths about intimidation in the Eritrean community. The security service AIVD will not comment on specific cases, but a spokesman said that activities of foreign intelligence services directed to the diaspora have the attention of the service – especially if they assume a Netherlands disruptive character .