10 February 2012

Campaigns and Advocacy

RSF lawyer pleads on behalf of imprisoned journalists


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(RSF/IFEX) - 8 February 2012 - Just two weeks away, 22 February, is the third anniversary of a raid on Radio Bana in central Asmara in which about 50 journalists were arrested. Most were released but at least 11 are still held and are in solitary confinement. Reporters Without Borders continues to campaign for them and other journalists who are imprisoned in Eritrea, some since September 2001.

Prisca Orsonneau, a Paris bar member and coordinator of the Reporters Without Borders Legal Committee, participated in the final of the Caen International Human Rights Advocacy Competition on 29 January. Her speech, entitled “Beautiful Asmara, denied its Jasmine Revolution,” was a plea on behalf of Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaac and other journalists who, like him, have been held for more than ten years in Eritrea without being brought to trial.


23e Concours de plaidoiries des avocats - La... par MEMORIALCAEN

Click here to see the video of her plea.

The plea was the latest initiative that Reporters Without Borders' Legal Committee has taken in coordination with the Reporters Without Borders section in Stockholm and two Swedish lawyers, Jesus Alcala and Percy Bratt.

In July 2011, a Habeas Corpus petition was sent to the supreme court in Asmara requesting Dawit's immediate appearance in court under Eritrea's constitutional and criminal code provisions and international obligations. The court has so far refused to acknowledge receipt of the petition. As no Eritrean lawyer dares to raise the matter with the court it is hard to know whether the petition will succeed and will eventually shed light on the situation of the detainees.

Naizghi Kiflu, an adviser to President Issaias Afeworki and information minister at the time of the September 2001 crackdown, died in London on 6 February. Together with the London-based human rights NGO Redress and the Eritrean exile activist Elsa Chyrum, Reporters Without Borders had called in vain for Naizghi to be tried in Britain for the acts of torture for which he was responsible in Eritrea.

The disastrous situation in Eritrea continues to be overlooked for the most part by the international community. Eritrea was nonetheless ranked last for the fifth year running in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index that was released on 25 January. With at least 34 journalists detained, Eritrea is the world's third biggest prison for media workers, after China and Iran.

Click below to download the text of the plea.
RSF_Plea_Dawit_Isaac.pdf (68 KB)


Source:

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At this point, would publish: "Home page"
At this point, would publish: "Journalist freed without charge after four years in jail"
At this point, would publish: "IFJ urges government to allow released journalist to leave country, free others held since 2001 clampdown"
At this point, would publish: "Freed journalist sent back to jail"
At this point, would publish: "RSF urges Eritrean diaspora to intercede on behalf of imprisoned journalists on 2,000th day since "Black Tuesday""
At this point, would publish: "RSF urges democratic governments to summon Eritrean ambassadors on anniversary of 18 September 2001 crackdown"
At this point, would publish: "Journalist Dawit Isaak held without trial for almost eight years, believed to be seriously ill "
At this point, would publish: "Journalist Dawit Isaak still in prison after more than eight years"
At this point, would publish: "Journalists still hunted down nine years after September 2001 purges"
At this point, would publish: "Detained journalist's brother and RSF tell Sweden and EU they are legally bound to actively seek his release"
At this point, would publish: "Journalists face threats in covering Dawit Isaac's imprisonment"
At this point, would publish: "RSF concerned over fate of Dawit Isaac"
At this point, would publish: "Thirty-one IFEX members call on authorities to disclose whereabouts of Dawit Isaak"
At this point, would publish: "RSF calls on Parliament to seek imprisoned journalists' release"
 
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