Home | News    Wednesday 23 November 2005

Fate of Eritrean journalist still unclear

Nov 22, 2005 (STOCKHOLM) — The fate of journalist Dawit Isaak, who is in prison in Eritrea, is still very unclear. There is varying information on whether he has been released temporarily or permanently.

The support foundation for Dawit Isaak in Sweden is worried because it has not been able to contact him after a trip to hospital.

According to the Swedish radio news Ekot, Sweden’s ambassador in Eritrea, Bengt Sparre, has still not been able to meet Dawit Isaak and does not know where the journalist is now.

Yesterday, Eritrea’s Minister of Information Ali Abdu said to the AFP that the release is just a temporary leave for medical tests. He has told reporters there that Dawit Isaak will have to return to prison within a few days.

Isaak, who has both Swedish and Eritrean citizenship, has been imprisoned for four years. He was arrested while writing for a newspaper which was critical of the Eritrean regime.

Isaak came to Sweden in 1987 as a war refugee, but returned to the eastern African country in the 1990s to become a reporter at an independent newspaper.

He is one of several journalists at the newspaper who were arrested and imprisoned without a trial after demanding press freedom on Sept. 18, 2001.

Reporters Without Borders, which has campaigned for the release of the imprisoned journalists, ranks Eritrea 166 out of 167 countries in press freedom violations.