The Association of Eritrean Journalists in Exile (AEJE) would like to express its gratitude to the Norwegian Authors’ Union for giving an Award to Mr. Dawit Isaak, an Eritrean journalist who has been languished in prison since September 23, 2001.
The Norwegian Authors Union, an Association of writers, bestowed the award on Mr. Dawit Isaak on the 16th annual Freedom of Expression held in Oslo, on March 14, 2010. The family members of Mr. Dawit Issak have received the award. In her acceptance speech, the wife of the jailed journalist, Mrs. Sophia Berhane has thanked the Union and praised the advocacy works accomplished to take up the cause of her husband.
The Association of Eritrean Journalists in Exile (AEJE) believes this award once again highlights the persecution of Mr. Dawit Isaak and his colleagues are suffering under the world’s worst predator of press. The award also reminds us the need to step up the advocacy works on the part of activists especially in making the Eritrean regime accountable for its human rights violations. The AEJE is pleased to see Norwegian Authors Union joins the reputable list of organizations and individuals who are advocating of freedom of press. We take the award as a remarkable gesture of solidarity in expressing your dismay against the Eritrean government. We acknowledge that this award not only highlights the persecution of Mr. Dawit Isaak and his fellow colleagues but it also recognizes the struggle of Eritreans for democracy and justice.
It is to be remembered that Mr. Dawit Isaak has been awarded numerous awards from many organizations. Recently the Swedish P.E.N. has given the Tucholosky Award to Mr. Dawit Issak. He was also made a finalist for the prestigious Sakharov Award.
Eritrea has been called sadly the biggest jailor of journalists in a row for years. In 2009, on its Press Freedom Index, Reporters without Borders has ranked Eritrea last of 173 countries. More than 30 journalists are in jail and many others have fled the nation to neighboring countries of the Sudan, Ethiopia, Europe and North America. Pleas and calls for release of the jailed journalists met with stern rejection from the Eritrean ruling regime. In interviews after interviews the Eritrean leader, Issayas Afewerki has made it clear that he had no intention of either releasing Dawit Isaak or other journalists or bring them to court. In a recent interview he made with journalist Jane Dutton of Al-Jazzera (Feb. 20, 2010) the president denied bluntly for arresting journalists.
Such Awards and recognitions will undoubtedly embolden the family of Dawit Issak, the AEJE and those who are engaged in the struggle against tyranny. With justice-loving, honorable organizations as the Norwegian Authors’ Union, in our side, we members of the Association of Eritrean Journalists in Exile, feel confident our advocacy efforts will bear the intended results.
Thank you again!
Association of Eritrean Journalists in Exile (AEJE).
AEJE is saddened to learn the Arrest of Journalist Said Abdel-hay
The Association of Eritrean Journalists in Exile (AEJE) would like to express its sadness and outrage on the arrest of the veteran journalist, Haw Said Abdel-Hay. The AEJE further notes that this criminal act is a continuation of the PFDJ’ regime’s long and brutal persecution of Eritrean journalists, the degree of which is unknown and unheard in any country of the world.
As reported by our sister news outlets (first Adulis and then Assena) Said Abdel-Hey, a graduate of Benghazi University-Libya, was a veteran journalist that have a long history with the Eritrean struggle and press. A freedom- fighter, he was one of the founders of the “Dimtsi Hafash” in the armed struggle and continued his journalistic activities after the independence. He was a vice-editor of the only Arabic newspaper ‘Eritrea El Haditha’ and worked in different administrative positions. He also worked in producing programs for Eritrean satellite TV, ERINA and Ministry of Information. Moreover, he translated Alemsghed Tesfay’s “Ainifelale” into Arabic. In this occasion, the AEJE wants to thank Adulis and Assena for informing the public what the regime would like to hide.
Persecution of journalists has been one of the chief characteristics of the PFDJ regime. Eritrea currently holds the unenviable position of being the worst jailor of journalists in the world. There are no private presses in Eritrea and those who work in governmental presses are working under the strict censorship and harassment. A lot of them have been taken to undisclosed location.
The AEJE wants to send its support and consolation to the family of Said Abdel-Hay. It also calls governments and organizations, especially those who are associated with the Press Freedom to augment their efforts to pressure the Eritrean regime to release Said Abdel-Hay and other journalists or bring them to court. It further reminds Eritreans who are involved in the struggle for justice to keep up the good fight and to work together in common journey of claiming back our dignity and freedom.
Association of Eritrean Journalists in Exile – AEJE)