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ERITREA: Swedish prosecutor abandons journalist imprisoned in Eritrea

Reporters Without Borders ( Press release 23 September 2014 ERITREA Swedish prosecutor abandons journalist imprisoned in Eritrea The prosecutor has declined to pursue the case of a journalist with Eritrean and Swedish citizenship held in Eritrea since 2001 Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders (

Press release

23 September 2014


Swedish prosecutor abandons journalist imprisoned in Eritrea

The prosecutor has declined to pursue the case of a journalist with Eritrean and Swedish citizenship held in Eritrea since 2001

Reporters Without Borders is appalled that the Swedish judicial authorities are abandoning Dawit Isaak, a journalist with dual Eritrean and Swedish citizenship arrested exactly 13 years ago today in Eritrea and held without charge or trial every since.

A Swedish prosecutor has closed an investiga tion into a complaint accusing the Eritrean authorities of a crime against humanity, torture and abduction in the Isaak case. Lawyers acting for Isaak filed it with the Swedish judicial authorities in July.

The prosecutor assigned to the case decided it would be a waste of time because the Eritrean authorities would probably refuse to cooperate. She therefore closed the investigation a mere few weeks after it was opened.

Reporters Without Borders shares the disappointment and outrage of several NGOS that, in an opinion piece in the Swedish newspaperExpressen, asked: “If such crimes cannot be investigated in a stable democracy such as Sweden, where will they be?”

Determined persistence by the international community is the only way to get the Eritrean government to end its criminal activities and release all the journalists it has imprisoned. It is unacceptable for western democracies to give up so easily.

Eritrea is ranked last in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index for the seventh year running.

Review overview
  • wedebat September 24, 2014


  • Beyan September 24, 2014

    If the eritrean government they don’t respond D m h t will respond to the world

  • assena September 24, 2014

    I think sweden could have done much more to secure the release of Dawit. Had Dawit been a native swedish, we would have seen much more vigour and determination from the swedish government. Isyas only understands the language of forces and sweden could have used different kind of forces. But life is not fair and dawit is an example of that reality.

  • Hagherawi September 24, 2014

    Some times dual citizenship gives countries excuse to do nothing.
    The regime in Eritrea believes only in military force, for them anything else is inconsequential.
    If you don’t have a gun for them you are not even a human.

  • ahmed saleh September 24, 2014

    That shows Issayas government’s alienation from international world .
    They won’t respond means they won’t cooperate means simply non-workable poor diplomacy .
    I think Swedish government has a reasonable doubt to withdrew but for the sake of
    democracy and human right aspects they should find other alternatives to fight back
    unless the decision taken is mere political influenced .

  • Zeray September 24, 2014

    Democracy and rule of law is absent in Eritrea due to the dictator and juntas betraying Eritrean citizens. Moreover,I am willing to bet the Swedish Judicial authority was prejudicial because Dawit is an African origin naturalized citizen of Sweden.

  • B. Michael September 28, 2014

    Scandinavian and Canadian ways vs. Shaebya ways

    Was the Swedish effort to help a journalist all in vain? If it is now, most probably, it is due the Scandinavian way. As for the coolie Shaebya envoys, they are not endowed with the God-given faculty of a liberum arbitrium / free will. Who expect them to expose the erratic leadership or protest against abusive power or reject the wild policy guideline? It is a luxury culture unknown to them.
    And so, the giving up of the Swedish prosecutor follow the kicking of the Shaebya representative out. The Nordic official would give a Nobel prize for inventing a persuasive device in order to get what is after, however, she could not expect anything positive as things stand, today. It is unfortunate, there seems to be no plan b because there was no plan a, even so it is not right to give the dictator a means to survive and prolong the oppressive condition.

    For quite some time, I sensed that the Swedes would probably approach this particular issue in their right way but definitely not in the most effective way. If their reaction to the gross human right violations was forceful and smart it is not perceived as one. In fact, it was flawed all along, I believe. There were too many Eritrean cases of Isaak Dawit within Eritrea and cases of escapees without. They were and are too many victims in our land, they may be conscripts, professionals, ex tegadelti, ordinary citizens and peasants. The criminal regime impacted negatively people from all walks of life.
    Too many young people left home with a dream to the fronts. They dedicated their youth for freedom and were eager to see a more peaceful and just society but they were either sacrificed meaninglessly or survived the mêlée only to watch their dream turned into a nightmare spanning decades. The sorry state of affair wholly designed and orchestrated by one cruel and whimsical monster is tangible and at the same time difficult to comprehend.

    Could one reasonably blame it on strangers? Should one blame in particular the Swedish government for failing to free one of their citizen of African origin? Blame the very people giving shelter to thousands of Eritrean refugees? It sounds to me bizarre and quite unfair proposition. Instead, our people should not get used to suffering under the heavy joke of the Shaebya regime or any other regime. The old generation would unequivocally say እስመ እግዚኣብሐር ወሃቦሙ ለሕዝብ እኩያን ንጉሰ እኩየ.* However I am not sure about the wickedness of a people defending its right, striving to live in peace in its land with dignity etc.

    Had the Swedes chosen a more concerted action with other like-minded peoples and carried out their battles within the UN premises and in other diplomatic get-together, the scenario would have changed, significantly. The negative outcome could not be explained away by their relaxed manners or their traditional neutrality or the double nationality of the victim.

    While the Swedes appear to have no economic interest in Eritrea by which to be entangled, they seem to be resigned. The Canadians, on the contrary, are bent on robbing us and enslave our manpower, ignoring the terrible situation of our country. They must be some sort of tridimensional barbarians! One has to question the rule of law and the color of human rights they pride about. They may speak often blindly and in a more generalized way about democracy, but one must always ask them: democracy for whom?
    The want of the rule of law in an African state is relevant. But not for anyone. How about those thieves from North America dig their own icy territory and mine their bloodstained metal they called gold, until they apply parameters of human rights without distinction?

    * Hatata Zarayaqob