Eritrea. Very few news sizzled during the year from the closed Eritrea, one of the world’s hardest dictatorships. Among the few reports on the condition in the country were information from a defected former camp guard, who in January said that the Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak was alive but probably in a very bad condition. Isaak was arrested in 2001 for having in his newspaper given room for criticism of the regime and has since been imprisoned without trial.
According to the camp guard, Isaak is kept under difficult conditions in the desert camp Eiraeiro, without access to medical care and with very small rations of food and water. Six of the eleven high-ranking political and military leaders who were also imprisoned in 2001, according to the former guard, have died from the hardships, as well as a number of prisoners, among them five journalists.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Eritrea has a population of 3.214 million (2011). Activists working for Isaak’s release demanded increased efforts from the Swedish government and the EU.