IFJ World Congress Condemns Detention of Journalists in Eritrea

The World

Congress of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), meeting in Cadiz, Spain

strongly condemns the detention of Swedish journalist Dawit Isaac and several

other Eritrean colleagues in Eritrean prisons since September 2001.

Congress is particularly concerned at

the time they have been detained without formal charges and the

conditions of their detention. The journalists are held in maximum security

prisons located in remote areas in the desert under conditions of extreme heat

and starvation. They have no access to health care.

Dawit Isaac and

his colleagues have not been charged of any crime nor have they appeared before

any court since their arrest. They were arrested simply because they are

journalists and had exercised their professional right to free speech.

At least 15 of

the approximately 35 journalists and opposition members which were detained

have already died in prison, according to some reports.

The IFJ Congress heard

a presentation from the Special Rapporteur of Freedom of Expression and Access

to Information, Ms Pansy Tlakula,

who singled out Eritrea as

one of the worst predators of press freedom in Africa.

During a debate

about human rights and journalists, the IFJ Congress passed a motion in support

of Eritrean journalists and press freedom in Eritrea.

"Congress demands

the immediate release of Dawit Isaac and his colleagues and the restoration of press

freedom and freedom of expression in Eritrea."

For more information

contact the IFJ at     +32 2 235 22 07

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

in 125 countries worldwide