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EU parliament pushes for Dawit Isaak release

TT/The Local · 27 Nov 2009, 08:18

Published: 27 Nov 2009 08:18 GMT+01:00

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"The time for quiet diplomacy is over. This quite clearly raises the pressure on Eritrea and its president, Isaias Afwerki," said Liberal party MEP Olle Schmidt to the TT news agency.

Afwerki has so far rejected Sweden's demands to free the imprisoned Isaak.

The call from the EU parliament is the result of an initiative taken by the Left party MEP, Eva-Britt Svensson, and Olle Schmidt, to raise the issue at EU level. According to the pair, it is a unique step for the EU parliament to take up the issue.

Isaak became known across the union in connection with his nomination for the parliament's own Sacharov prize.

The speaker of the parliament, Jerzy Buzek, has now pledged to formulate a letter to the Eritrean regime to demand the release of Dawit Isaak and the imprisoned journalists. The Belgian EU commissioner, Louis Michel, will hand over the letter.

"Michel has been in contact with Isaias Afwerki on several occasions previously, in his role as EU commissioner. It places an extra weight behind the demands," Schmidt told news agency TT.

Story continues below…

If the Eritrean president does not respond to the latest initiative then it is hoped that the new EU president, Herman Van Rompuy, and foreign minister, Catherine Ashton, will take up the case.

The two Swedish MEPs will on December 9th arrange a seminar on Dawit Isaak in the parliament.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:11 November 27, 2009 by peropaco
Good initiative from the EUP and while they are at it, they should also push for the release of Gilad Shalit.
11:28 November 27, 2009 by byke
Am I correct in understanding he is a dual national? are not nationals of any country even more so legally responsible to local laws ? I cant see dual nationality as a get out of free card in terms of these type of issues.

It appears to me that this is more so a slap in the face of swedish politics than an actual human right violation which sweden is often criticized over. I supose if a country is going to flex it muscle it must do so with a country of an equivalent size, and Eritrea seems to be that based on sweden successes in this matter.

I hope that after all this political face off is over that the person who is being held is treated fairly and not made to suffer more from these political games.
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