Eritrea’s Ambassador to Israel, Ambassador Tesfamariam Tekeste, told journalists last week that journalist Dawit Isaac, arrested in Asmara in 2001, was still alive. Dawit, who holds dual Swedish and Eritrean nationality, was arrested on 23 September 2001. He was last seen alive in detention in January 2010. Reporters sans Frontieres have called on the Eritrean government to produce “solid evidence proving that Dawit Isaac really is alive and to allow humanitarian organizations, his family and his lawyers to visit him in prison.” RSF also pointed out that the Eritrean Supreme Court not ruled on the habeas corpus petition for Dawit Issac submitted in June 2011, nor has the Eritrean Government responded to the petition accepted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in March 2013 last year. The Commission agreed to examine Dawit Isaac’s case last March, and Eritrea failed to comply with its obligation to respond by November. RSF has called upon the Eritrean authorities to respond to this petition and to“release Isaac and all the other journalists that they are holding illegally.” Of the 11 journalists who were arrested in September 2011, RSF says it has established that at least three have died in detention. Eritrea continued to be Africa’s biggest prison for journalists in 2013 with at least 28 detained. Eritrea has ranked last in RSF’s press freedom index for the past seven years.
Photo: Noam Moskowitz/Flash90