Eritrean Government : must Release Dawit Isaak immediately and unconditionally

Eritrean Government : must Release Dawit Isaak immediately and unconditionally

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Berhane Kidane started this petition to European Union and

Eritrean Government : must Release Dawit Isaak immediately and unconditionally

Dawit Isaak (born 28 October 1964 (age 56) is a Eritrean –Swedish Citizen. Dawit Isaak  is a Father of  Two daughters and a one son. Dawit  grows up with five siblings and his parents,  Dawit Isaak is playwright, journalist and writer, who has been held in prison in Eritrea since 2001 without trial. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience and has called for his immediate and unconditional release in 08/10/2020.  For almost 19  years he was the only Swedish citizen held as a prisoner of conscience Under the Eritrean Government Prison.

Asylum and Swedish citizenship

Dawit Isaak came to Sweden in August 1987, where he settled in the west coast city of Gothenburg and became a Swedish citizen on 4 November 1992. When Eritrea gained independence, Isaak returned to his native country, married and had children. He began working as a reporter for the country's first independent newspaper, Setit. Eventually, he became a part-owner of the newspaper.


Eritrea holds Africa’s biggest prison for journalists, with at least 16 confirmed cases. Several of the journalists are held isolation and in harsh conditions. All forms of privately-owned media in Eritrea have been absent since 2001 when the regime closed down all independent newspapers. Managing editors and journalists were arrested and thrown in jail. The crackdown also afflicted reporters employed by state-operated news outlets.

On 23 September 2001, Isaak was arrested in his home in Asmara, Eritrea. At the same time, ten other independent journalists and eleven prominent reformist politicians of the so-called G-15 were arrested, ostensibly for demanding democratic reforms in a series of letters to President Isaias Afeworki. The independent press, including the Setit newspaper, had covered the confrontation between the president and the reformers.

In April 2002, CPJ, the Committee to Protect Journalists, reported that Isaak was hospitalized due to torture. The Eritrean government denied that he has been tortured, but did not allow anyone to visit him. Isaak had not been tried before a court. Because he held dual Swedish and Eritrean citizenship, Swedish authorities began working for his release, using "silent diplomacy" according to government sources.

On 19 November 2005, Isaak was released from jail, and according to official Eritrean sources, he was released only to see a doctor. After only two days of freedom, and while on his way to the hospital, Isaak was imprisoned again. He is believed to be held in Carchele prison in central Asmara.

Every week, a number of organizations, including Reporters Without Borders and the National Press Club, petition the Eritrean Embassy in Stockholm to free Isaak.

On 27 March 2009, four of the five largest newspapers in Sweden, Aftonbladet, Expressen, Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet, featured a plea for the release of Isaak on their front pages. In addition, the five newspapers will feature joint reports on Isaak's situation, and a joint petition was handed over to the Eritrean Embassy in Stockholm on 4 May. By 4 May, 209,963 people had signed the petition.

On 26 May 2009, during an interview with the Swedish TV4 (channel 4) the president of Eritrea dismissed the case altogether with the words "We will not have any trial and we will not free him. We know how to handle his kind." and "To me, Sweden is irrelevant. The Swedish government has nothing to do with us.

The "silent diplomacy" method that the Swedish authorities have employed to work for Isaak's release has been criticized by the Swedish media, and the president of the Swedish branch of Reporters Without Borders, Jesper Bengtsson, issued a statement in April 2010, saying that ‘’ is a disgrace that Dawit remains in prison and it is remarkable that the Swedish government does not try harder to get him released.

At no point in the past 19 years has Dawit Isaak been allowed to see his lawyers or family, or receive a visit from UN or Swedish representatives, despite his Swedish nationality and many requests for visits. The last “proof of life” dates back to 2005. He is likely being held in appalling conditions at the Eiraeiro detention centre in the middle of a desert in the Northern Red Sea Region, where burning hot containers are used as cells.

For more information and reading  bout Dawit isaak  Awards, Bibliography, References and External links click the links below. 

Eritrean diaspora demands, that all prisoners of conscience in Eritrea, notably Swedish citizen Dawit Isaak and several other journalists detained since September 2001, are immediately and unconditionally released.  We calls on the Eritrean authorities to provide information immediately regarding Mr Isaak’s whereabouts and well-being, and to grant him access to representatives of the EU, its member states and Sweden, in order to establish his healthcare needs and any other support he might need.

We(Eritreans in diaspora ) condemn, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and seven other senior Eritrean officials. in the strongest terms, Eritrea’s systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations and urge the country’s government to put an end to detentions of the  opposition, journalists, religious leaders and innocent civilians to be manumit.

Eritreans in diaspora appeal and support : the filed a police report  on October 21, 2020 for crimes against humanity in Eritrea. We undersigned to support the Reporters Without Borders filed a police report for crimes against humanity in the case of the imprisoned Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak.

Diplomacy has its time and when it is not enough, there is the law. And the law is there to be used. partner that has explicitly committed to uphold the universal values of democracy and human rights, to step up its activity in relation to the severe regressive situation and demand the closure of imprisonments for the prisoners of conscience in Eritrea.

No matter how high their rank, the individuals who imprisoned Dawit Isaak and left him languishing there for nearly 20 years must be held criminally responsible.

Swedish Government and Prime Minister of Sweden (Kjell Stefan Löfven), United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Michelle Bachelet Jeria)  , European union (EU) African Union (AU) , European Parliament, International community and Arab League urge to support Eritrean in diaspora and Free, Notable Dawit Isaak, several other journalists detained since September 2001, religious leaders and innocent civilians held inside Eritrean Government in Eritrea.

Please help us get justice for Dawit Isaak !

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