Free Dawit Isaak!
Since 2001, Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak has been imprisoned in Eritrea, without trial or charge.
Les mer på norsk i Dagbladet.
In 1987, journalist Dawit Isaak arrived in Sweden as a refugee, fleeing the bloody independence war. Isaak became a Swedish citizen in 1992, but when Eritrea gained independence in 1993, he returned to his native country. He married, had children, and took up work as a reporter for the country’s first independent newspaper, Setit, of which he became a part-owner.
When the conflict with Ethiopia unexpectedly flared up again in 1998, Isaak returned to Sweden, preparing to bring his family to safety. His wife and three children followed in April 2000. One year later, Isaak went back to Eritrea, arriving in the midst of an intense political turmoil. In May 2001, a group of fifteen cabinet members wrote an open letter to the ruling PFDJ party, demanding democratic reform and a thorough, objective evaluation of the events leading to the war with Ethiopia. The letter was published by the free press, along with comments and interviews with several of the fifteen politicians. The government stroke back forcefully, arresting eleven of the fifteen politicians were arrested, as well as ten of the country’s leading journalists, including Dawit Isaak.
Three days in freedom
According to Swedish campaign website freedawit.com, none of the journalists and politicians arrested in 2001 has been either charged formally or given a fair trial, and there have been few signs of life from Dawit since his arrest. The Eritrean authorities claim that Dawit is an Eritrean citizen only – not a Swedish citizen – and that his case is therefore an internal affair. Neither his family, Swedish authorities or international human rights organizations have been allowed to visit him.
On 19 November 2005, Isaak was released from prison, and the good news quickly spread around the world. However, he was arrested again only three days later, and the Eritrean authorities stated that he had only been out on leave for a medical checkup. Since then, he has been held incommunicado. According to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Isaak has allegedly been taken to a military hospital where he is kept in isolation. His health is reported to have deteriorated because of diabetes.
Today, Dawit Isaak has spent 2748 days in prison. That is 2748 days to many. Sign the petition for the release of Isaak and all other Eritrean prisoners of conscience and read more at www.freedawit.com.