6 December 2005


Freed journalist sent back to jail

Incident details

Dawit Isaac


(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a CPJ press release:

ERITREA: A 'freed' journalist is sent back to jail

New York, December 5, 2005 - The Committee to Protect Journalists is outraged by news that Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaac was returned to jail just two days after being released in mid-November. Isaac is one of 15 Eritrean journalists who have been jailed incommunicado and without charge or forced into extended military service following a September 2001 clampdown that shut down the country's private press.

CPJ sources confirmed that Isaac, who has dual Swedish and Eritrean nationality, has been returned to jail. During his brief release, he was able to phone his wife in Sweden as well as Leif Öbrink, a close friend who heads a campaign in Sweden for his release.

Isaac was freed on November 19, and the release was originally believed to have been permanent. The release was attributed to Swedish diplomatic efforts and was confirmed by Bengt Sparre, Sweden's envoy to Eritrea. But conflicting reports soon emerged. Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu told Agence France-Presse that Isaac had been freed temporarily merely to receive a medical check-up. It is not clear whether Isaac, in fact, received the examination.

Isaac was sent back to jail on November 21 for reasons that were not explained, Öbrink told CPJ. A second CPJ source confirmed Isaac's return to jail.

"We're appalled at the Eritrean government's decision to return Dawit Isaac to jail," CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. "This only serves to underline the cynical disregard for human rights in Eritrea, Africa's worst jailer of journalists."

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.cpj.org.


Putting free expression issues in perspective.

Sign up to receive IFEX In Context.

More from Eritrea
  • Shadow Report to Initial National Report (1999-2016) from the State of Eritrea

    Reporters Without Borders (RSF) accuses the Eritrean government of a complete denial of reality in its first-ever report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and announces that it has submitted an alternative "shadow report" with a much darker assessment of the state of press freedom in Eritrea.

  • Freedom of the Press 2016: Eritrea

    17 journalists were imprisoned in Eritrea as of December 1, 2015, the most in sub-Saharan Africa

  • Freedom of the Press 2015: Eritrea

    Ranked 195th in annual global media freedom report

At this point, would publish cover: "Home page"
At this point, would publish story-with-same-anchor: "Journalist Dawit Isaak still in prison after more than eight years"
At this point, would publish story-with-same-anchor: "Detained journalist's brother and RSF tell Sweden and EU they are legally bound to actively seek his release"
At this point, would publish story-with-same-anchor: "RSF calls on Parliament to seek imprisoned journalists' release"
IFEX is a global network of committed organisations working to defend and promote free expression.
Permission is granted for material on this website to be reproduced or republished in whole or in part provided the source member and/or IFEX is cited with a link to the original item.