13 Years A Prisoner

I cannot actually overemphasize that the case of Isaak Dawit is an embarrassment to the human race. Isaias Afewerki cannot be above all of humanity unless we have all gone crazy.

13 Years A Prisoner

Isaak Dawit

Isaak Dawit

By Adeola Aderounmu

Isaak Dawit has been in jail in Eritrea since September 23 2001. He was born in the same country on the 27th of October 1964. He is now 50 years old, with one-fourth of his life spent in jail.

Isaak Dawit fled the war in Eritrea in 1987 and lived in Sweden. He became a Swedish citizen in 1992 but he also held on to his Eritrean citizenship.

When Eritrea became independent Isaak Dawit returned to Eritrea to work as a journalist.

He may have written stories or articles that the dictator Isaias Afewerki found threatening to his one-party state. He may have associated with groups seeking to ensure that the rights of the people are respected and sustained in a new emerging country.

But he was on the other side of the court as Mr. Afewerki, so he was arrested and imprisoned.

Isaak Dawit has not been brought to a court of law. No charges have been brought against him. It is not on any record that Isaak has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Why is he sitting in prison for more than 13 years?

The worst tragedies in the world are not only hideous; they have also proven to be mostly unspoken of.

How can the rest of humanity look away when a man is locked up for 13 years? Have we no compassion for his family and children?

Since independence in 1993, Eritrea has been held in captive and extreme bondage by one man, a dictator called Isaias Afewerki.

In plain terms Mr. Isaias Afewerki told the world to go to “hell”, that he would do whatever he likes with Isaak. The question is, in the absence of a proof of life, “what has he actually done with Isaak Dawit?

Few years ago, Isaak went missing from his cell prompting fears about his whereabouts and an unconfirmed story that he was dead.

Many of the people arrested alongside with Isaak Dawit are dead or have been killed. The fears are genuine but lack of official comment keeps the hope of Dawit’s existence burning till today.

One of Isak’s daughters Ms. Bethlehem spoke recently and expresses optimism that her father is alive. It is this optimism and hope that should be given impetus now.

The Swedish government adopted the so-called silent diplomacy in the case of Isaak Dawit and it has been a total catastrophe so far. It remains futile.

Individuals, groups and organizations have demonstrated and lent their voices to the campaign to free Isaak. All have proven to be ineffective.

What has been done outside of Eritrea is probably not reaching Eritreans at home in terms of awareness.

Sadly too the chant to free Isaak Dawit will not be echoed in Eritrea.

The country is locked down by one man. Eritrea is closed to the rest of the world because there are no independent news media in the country.

Eritreans are not free. They need help!

While I do not support interference with the sovereignty of any nation, the case of Isaak Dawit brings me to a point of compromise. The utterances of Isaias Afewerki even on Swedish television left no one in doubt that there is a lunatic in power in Eritrea.

The campaign for the freedom of Isaak Dawit must take up a new dimension outside of Eritrea. The pressure should then be taken inside to free the people of Eritrea.

Every country deserves independent press and the people deserve freedom of speech and association.

The table needs to be turn around. The campaign slogans should move from free Dawit to:

Free Eritreans

Arrest And Prosecute Isaias Afewerki Now

Eritreans abroad must come together on this one. This is their fight.

They need to bring the rest of the world to the awareness of the sufferings and demeaning of their lives within and outside the boundary of Eritrea by Isaias Afewerki.

There should be no limit to the amount of pressure that should be applied on this wicked and heartless dictator.

After putting away a journalist for 13 years without trial, the world should NEVER let Isaias Afewerki have a moment of rest. This much Eritreans owe Isaak Dawit.

Isaias Afewerki holds all of Eritrea in bondage in a one-party state. He has no regards for the people of Eritrea.

Who does he think he is?

If he has killed Isaak Dawit, the people should rise and sack him by force. They also need to demand his arrest and prosecution.

If Isaak Dawit is alive, he should be released without further delay.

Isaias Afewerki cannot be above all of humanity unless we have all gone crazy.

What is the priority of the Swedish government in foreign diplomacy?

What is wrong with Sweden?

Only foolish people repeat stupid history. Raoul Wallenberg never returned to Sweden, he was never found. Now it is Isaak Dawit. Does this story line sound too familiar?

If finding Isaak Dawit means bringing down the Eritrean dictatorship so be it.

Isaak’s mother died in 2010 asking the question: why did they take my son away from me?

His children are grown, still growing, denied of the company of their loving father because of one stupid dictator in the horn of Africa.

In the end this is a shame not only to Sweden, but also to Europe and the world as a whole. We all stood by and watch like spectators and let one lunatic send another man to jail for 13 years without trial.

I cannot actually overemphasize that the case of Isaak Dawit is an embarrassment to the human race.

With all our claim of civility, social justice and freedom, we let one man (and definitely many other men and women) rot in prison for several years without trials and we look the other way.