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Swedish media urges government to act over journalist held in Eritrea

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14:06 CEST+02:00
Some 30 Swedish newspapers on Saturday urged the government to do more to secure the release of journalist Dawit Isaak, held in an Eritrean prison for six years without trial.

They said Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt "must now exert clear and strong pressure on the Eritrean government to liberate Dawit Isaak," said the statement signed by editors of the newspapers.

An Eritrean with Swedish citizenship, Isaak was arrested in September 2001 along with a dozen newspaper owners, editors and journalists accused of being Ethiopian traitors and spies.

In March, Sweden's national press club awarded Isaak its Freedom of Expression and Press Prize to recognize his fight for independent journalism.

In their statement, the Swedish editors denounced what they described as Stockholm's "diplomacy of silence" on behalf of Isaak, which they said had produced no results.

They called on Reinfeldt to push the European Union to take Isaak's case into consideration in negotiations on aid to Eritrea.

Swedish authorities argue they are taking the matter seriously, but refuse to comment publicly on their actions to secure his release.

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