Acquittal for professor Van Reisen in libel and slander case
Professor and Eritrea expert Mirjam van Reisen has been acquitted of libel and slander by the Amsterdam court of justice. The Eritrean Meseret Bahlbi had taken Van Reisen to court after things she said about him in an interview last year.Van Reisen said that Bahlbi is an important member of the Eritrean intelligence agency. The agency has its center in the Netherlands. Upon this, Bahlbi accused Van Reisen of libel and slander. Van Reisen’s remarks were causing him reputation damage, he said and demanded a rectification and 25.000 euros.
According to the judge, Van Reisen’s statement is sufficiently supported by facts. Bahlbi’s involvement with Eritrean association Young People’s Front for Democracy & Justice (YPFDJ) is decisive. The YPFDJ has close contact with the dictatorial regime in Eritrea.
The news that Van Reisen is threatened by supporters of the regime in Eritrea emerged at the end of January. She receives threatening tweets and Eritrean men follow her around. Bhalbi supposedly is one of the men behind the tweets.
Mirjam van Reisen works at Tilburg University as professor International Relations, Innovation and Care. She regularly publishes about human rights violations in Eritrea and human trafficking among refugees.