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African Human Rights Watchdog Appeals For The Release Of Eritrean Journalist

A human rights and media advocacy group is appealing to the Eritrean government to unconditionally release Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaac. The East And Horn Of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRD-Net) says Mr. Isaac was returned to jail just two days after being released in mid-November. No reason was given for his re-arrest – other than a statement by Information Minister Ali Abdu that Mr. Isaac had been freed temporarily merely to receive a medical check-up.

The chairman of the East and Horn of Africa advocacy group, Hassan Shire Sheikh, told Voice of America reporter Ashenafi Abedje he has no information about Mr. Isaac’s place or manner of detention. He attributes this to what he calls the Eritrean government’s “consistent pattern of practice” of holding prisoners of conscience incommunicado.

Mr. Isaac is one of 15 Eritrean journalists who have been jailed incommunicado and without charge. Their detention follows a September 2001 clampdown that shut down the country’s private press. Mr. Sheikh says EHAHRD-Net will cooperate with local, regional and international advocacy groups as it continues to monitor the fate of all detained journalists in Eritrea.