Swedish journalist is still alive after 18 years in Eritrean prison
Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak, who has been jailed in Eritrea without a trial since 2001, is still alive, according to his daughter.
Over the years, there have been conflicting reports about Isaac’s condition.
– “Yes, my dad is alive. And you might be thinking: How do you know? This is where silent diplomacy comes in. I can’t and won’t say more,” his daughter Bethlehem Isaak told Swedish Radio on Monday.
She goes on to say that she does not want to go into details about how she has learned that her father is alive, and points to the silent diplomatic process in progress.
“It’s called silent diplomacy because you can’t or won’t be allowed to talk about what’s happening on the outside,” she said.
55-year-old Dawit Isaak applied for asylum in Sweden in 1987, becoming a Swedish citizen in 1992. About eight years later, he returned to Eritrea to work for the independent newspaper Setit, which was critical of the country’s president.
Isaak was arrested in September 2001, when the Eritrean authorities cracked down on independent newspapers, and Isaak was labeled a traitor. Since then, few have heard from him.
This weekend the leader of a committee working to get Isaak released also said Isaak is alive. The manager, Leif Obrink, did not want to go into detail.
Eritrea is often ranked at the bottom of the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index.