20 May 2011

Dear Jeremy R. Hammond,

I was appalled to read the wildly inaccurate article published by your magazine on 17 May 2011, “Caught Red Handed; British Assassins in the Horn of Africa”.

The British government is dealing with a very serious consular case in Eritrea, where three British nationals and one dual British-Australian national have been held without charge or consular access since 23 December 2010. This is a flagrant breach of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which states that consular access should be facilitated in a “timely manner”. It is greatly concerning that the Eritrean government has now held these men for almost six months while refusing all requests for contact. The families of the men in particular are deeply worried by the situation.

The British government knew nothing of the men’s activities until we were made aware of their detention. Mr Mountain’s article is conspiracy theory at its most spurious; indeed, it would be laughable if it were not for the serious implications of such malicious allegations for the men concerned. It is deeply disappointing that a respectable publication such as yours is willing to show such disregard for journalistic integrity.

Yours sincerely,

Sandra T Haywood

Sandra Tyler-Haywood

HM Ambassador to the State of Eritrea