Eritrea urged to free Dawit Isaak, and all detained journalists


Dawit Isaak
Dawit Isaak

source: International Press Institute
published: 23 June 2016

Following Eritrea’s announcement this week that Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak is alive after nearly 15 years behind bars without trial or official charge, the International Press Institute (IPI) renewed its call for the release of Isaak and all journalists detained there in connection with their work.

Eritrean Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh made the announcement on Monday, but added that the journalist will only be sentenced when the government decides it is ready to do so.

Eritrea detained Isaak in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States on allegations of support for terrorism amid a general crackdown on dissent in Eritrea ahead of elections that were later cancelled without explanation. Many journalists detained during the crackdown and in subsequent years remain in prison with little or no word as to their fate.

IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications Steven M. Ellis welcomed Monday’s announcement, but he called on Eritrea’s government to prove its claim by releasing Isaak immediately.

“Dawit Isaak and his colleagues have spent far too long behind bars on unknown charges that they were never even allowed to challenge, and many of them are reported to have died in the face of indefinite detention amid appalling conditions,” Ellis said.

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