The European Parliament voted through a resolution calling for the immediate release of Dawit Isaak, the Eritrean-born Swedish journalist, who has been imprisoned without trial in Eritrea for more than 15 years. Swedish MEP Jytte Guteland stated that the new resolution of the European Parliament will help keep up the pressure on Eritrea for the journalist’s release.
“We are going to push for an immediate release and to strengthen the relations with civil society groups in Eritrea in order to resolve the situation,” said Guteland.
“We are happy that the parliament has chosen to highlight the issue surrounding Dawit Isaak and Eritrea. In our political group, this has been extremely important and the Swedish MEPS have been particularly involved in driving this issue forward.”
Isaak became a Swedish citizen in 1992, but returned to his Eritrean birthplace after Eritrea gained independence the following year, working for and becoming a part-owner of the Eritrea’s first independent newspaper.
On 23 September 2001, he was arrested at his house in the Eritrean capital Asmara, since when he has been released for only two days, when he was allowed out to see a doctor in 2005.
Some fear that he may have since died in Eritrea’s prison. Isaak’s long imprisonment is a cause célèbre in Sweden, with the Eritrean Embassy in Stockholm receiving weekly petitions for his release.