August 23, 2002

The former president of the Asmara University students' union has escaped from Eritrea after a year in detention and has sought political asylum in Ethiopia.

Semere Kesete hopes eventually to travel to western Europe or to the US to continue his studies. He was detained without trial after calling on students to boycott compulsory summer work. Two thousand students were held in detention camps and engaged in building roads in temperatures of up to 50C. Two students died from heatstroke, and several others were hospitalised.

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