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Biography of Dawit ISAAK

Eritrea > Media : Dawit ISAAK

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Born on 27/10/1964 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Dawit Isaak (born 27 October 1964) is a Swedish-Eritrean playwright, journalist and writer, who has been held in Eritrean prison since 2001 without trial.

Isaak became a Swedish citizen in 1992 after seeking asylum in 1987. Isaak lived in the west coast city of Gothenburg. When Eritrea gained independence, Isaak returned to his native country, got married and had children. He began work as a reporter for the country's first independent newspaper, Setit. Eventually, he became a part-owner of the newspaper.

On 23 September 2001, Isaak was arrested in his home in Asmara, Eritrea. Concurrently, ten other independent journalists and eleven prominent reformist politicians of the so-called G-15were arrested, ostensibly for demanding democratic reforms in a series of letters to presidentIsayas Afeworki. The independent press, including the Setit newspaper, had covered the confrontation between the president and the reformers. In April 2002, CPJ, the Committee to Protect Journalists, reported that Isaak was hospitalized due to torture.

The Eritrean government denied that he has been tortured, but did not allow anyone to visit him. Isaak had not been tried before a court. Because he held dual Swedish and Eritrean citizenship, Swedish authorities began working for his release, using "quiet diplomacy" according to government sources.

Last update : 11/03/2010

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