June 2, 2015 marks 5,000 days since the Swedish-Eritrean writer and journalist Dawit Isaak and nine other Eritrean journalists were arrested on unknown charges in September 2001. After 5,000 days without charge or trial, their whereabouts is still unknown.
Following the forced closure of Eritrea’s independent press and the mass arrests of journalists and political dissidents in September 2001, PEN Canada adopted ten Eritrean writers as Honorary Members. Seyoum Tsehaye, a TV and radio journalist remains in prison, without charge or trial, to this day.
On January 6, 2015, 6 Eritrean journalists were released on bail after being imprisoned in 2009, when the government conducted a raid on journalists. Brendan de Caires interviewed Eritrean journalist and member of the PEN Writers in Exile Committee Aaron Berhane about the release and the implications for the country’s future.
In late 2011, ten years after the arrest of PEN Canada Honorary Member Dawit Isaac, five writers read letters to imprisoned Eritrean journalists. Camilla Gibb read her letter to Dawit Isaac on stage at Ryerson University. She will present a documentary on March 3, 2014, as part of our PEN Picks series in partnership with Hot Docs.
On Thursday, September 19, 2013 Dan Connell will address Ryerson University’s International Issues Discussion (IID) series on political and human rights crises in Eritrea.