Uncertainty Over Dawit Isaak Release
Eritrea has denied that it has freed a Swedish journalist jailed for the last four years.
Dawit Isaak, who has dual Swedish-Eritrean citizenship, was imprisoned without trial, one of 13 newspaper owners and journalists accused of being Ethiopian spies. On Saturday he was allowed to leave his prison and has been staying with his sister in Asmara, while Swedish diplomats have been trying to arrange his return to this country.
But Eritrea’s Minister of Information Ali Abdu claims 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.
Swedish Ambassador Bengt Sparre, who has worked for Dawit Isaak’s release, says he has a hard time believing the Eritrean government would let him out only to imprison him again. Such a move, the ambassador says, would be counterproductive to Eritrea’s interests.
Reporters Without Borders, which has campaigned for the release of the imprisoned journalists, ranks Eritrea 166 out of 167 countries in press freedom violations.