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Papers join forces to free Swedish journalist

Papers join forces to free Swedish journalist

Published: 27 Mar 2009 07:57 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Mar 2009 07:57 GMT+01:00

Sweden’s four largest newspapers on Friday jointly launched a massive campaign to push for the release of Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak, who has been imprisoned in Eritrea for 2,742 days.

Isaak’s case is discussed in articles on the leader and editorial pages of broadsheets Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet, as well as tabloids Aftonbladet and Expressen.

In addition to questioning the behaviour of Eritrean authorizes with respect to Isaak’s imprisonment, the newspapers also criticize what they see as a weak response from the Swedish government.

“The Swedish authorities' attitude to the case is characterized by silence. They refer to the method of ‘quiet diplomacy’. So far, this method has yielded few results. Now is the time for the Swedish government to start working actively for Dawit Isaak´s release,” write the newspapers.

“Our demand is very simple: Free Dawit Isaak.”

During the campaign, the papers have agreed to set aside daily competition and work jointly to report on Isaak’s case and what Sweden’s foreign ministry is doing about it.

As a part of their efforts, the newspapers have each published a common article in English on their websites summarizing Isaak’s case and launched special websites in Swedish with more detailed background information.

Readers are also encouraged to visit the websites and add their name to a petition which will be presented to the Eritrean Embassy in Sweden on May 4th.

Isaak was arrested on September 23rd, 2001 in Eritrea when the government closed down the country’s independent newspapers.

He has never been charged with a crime or been told of the government’s suspicions against him.

Isaak was released once in November 2005, but was arrested two days later on his way to see a doctor.

Eritrea position on the case of Isaak, who holds both Swedish and Eritrean citizenship, is that it is an Eritrean matter which has nothing to do with Sweden.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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