Dawit Isaak. Photo:Kalle Ahlsén/TT

13 years in prison without trial

"Just tell us where he is, it's a very simple question"
3:59 min

The Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak, who has been in prison in Eritrea for thirteen years without trial, is fifty today.  

Dawit Isaak, who became a Swedish citizen in 1992, was arrested in his native Eritrea in 2001 following a media crackdown in the country where he wrote articles critical of the regime in a local newspaper. He has yet to receive a trial and has not been allowed any contact with the outside world. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience.

His brother Esayas and daughter Betlehem have spent years campaigning for his release. Esaya Isaak told Radio Sweden that his thoughts are with Dawit on today of all days.

"When it was his 40th birthday I never thought he would be still in prison today. The Eritrean authorities do not want to talk about it, they don't even want to tell us where he is, including the Eritrean embassy in Sweden."

On Monday, the Eritrean embassy in Stockholm refused to accept almost 1200 greetings cards from Swedes to Dawit Isaak, brought by Amnesty International.

"We rang the doorbell. Then a man came and slammed the door in the face of my colleague," says Swedish Amnesty's press secretary Elisabeth Löfgren to tabloid Expressen.

The EU has demanded that Eritrea will release Isaak and other imprisoned journalists.

Esaya Isaak is hoping that Sweden's new foreign minister Margot Wallström will have a different strategy than former minister Carl Bildt's "silent diplomacy".

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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