Who is Dawit Isaak?
Photo: Kalle Ahlsén
Dawit Isaak is a Swedish-Eritrean journalist and writer, imprisoned in Eritrea without trial since 2001. He was born 1964 in Eritrea, early during the 30-year liberation war against Ethiopia, and fled to Sweden in 1987. He became a Swedish citizen in 1992, he is married and has three children.
After the independence and the peace with Ethiopia in the early 90’s, Dawit returned to Eritrea several times. In 1997 he became part owner in the first independent newspaper, Setit.
In 2001, president Isaias Afeworki received a lot of criticism for his leadership. In the shadow of the terror attacks in USA in September 2001, the president arrested the critics and closed all independent press. 11 politicians and 10 journalists were imprisoned. Dawit was one of them. Since then, he has been imprisoned incommunicado without trial. Several of his fellow journalists have died in prison.
Dawit Isaak is not the only journalist behind bars, but he is the only Swedish and EU prisoner of conscience. Throughout the years, Dawit has become a symbol of freedom of speech, of press freedom, of democracy. But he is not only a symbol, he is above all a husband, father, brother, friend and colleague—a fellow human being.
A network consisting of several Swedish journalist and publicist organizations, including the Swedish PEN and the Swedish Writers’ Union, cooperate in a mutual campaign together with members of Dawit’s family in Sweden, continuously and determinedly, to attract attention and remind people in Sweden and abroad about Dawit’s fate, through letters to the Eritrean government, opinion articles in newspapers, legal means and various actions all year round.
The Swedish government’s attempts to negotiate with the Eritrean dictatorship have so far been effortless. In 2009 President Afewerki stated: “We will not have any trial and we will not free him. We know how to handle his kind. […] To me, Sweden is irrelevant. The Swedish government has nothing to do with us.”
On June 2 Dawit Isaak had been imprisoned for 5,000 days.
Join us in our struggle, support our work, and spread the knowledge of Dawit Isaak.
Never forget, never keep quiet, never give up hope. Free Dawit.
DAWIT 5000 DAGAR – manifestation Stockholm | Dawit Isaak fängslad i 5 000 dagar »