New initiative boosts fight for journalist Dawit Isaak to be released from prison

An online initiative has been launched to fight for the release from prison of journalist Dawit Isaak in Eritrea.

Isaak is an Eritrean journalist who has been held in prison without trial for more than eleven years and who is believed to be seriously ill. He was arrested along with 21 other independent journalists and is the only European citizen who is imprisoned because of exercising his profession as journalist. Isaak's case has been taken up by the EFJ and IFJ and other press freedom groups with the support of journalists in Sweden where he arrived 22 years ago as a refugee from war in Ethiopia. He returned to his native Eritrea after the country obtained independence. He helped launch the country's first independent newspaper Setit.

Following these footsteps, a new online petition launched that rallies for support for Isaak to be released from prison. A petition has been set up and its main author, Radek Nowakoswki, a former activist of Polish trade union Solidarnosc wants to give Isaak hope having been imprisoned for several months himself. He aims to collect at least 200.000 signatures.

In earlier statements, EFJ and IFJ have together with the European Parliament called for Isaak's unconditional release on humanitarian and health grounds: "It is unspeakable that he should be held, in conditions of secrecy, never brought to trial, cut off from his family and friends and now, according to reports we have received, in dangerously failing health."

For more information and to sign the petition, click here.