Have yourself locked away in a prison cell for 15 minutes out of solidarity with numerous writers around the world who have been imprisoned without any kind of trial. Four square metres of pitch dark and stifled surroundings symbolize Dawit Isaak's prison cell. The Swedish-Eritrean writer has been detained in Eritrea for 14 years now. Nobody knows for certain whether he is still alive.
On 15 November, the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer, the Belgian P.E.N. representative is to organise a sit-in around Isaak's prison cell. Between 2pm and 5pm their members will read aloud. A number of writers in exile residing in Belgium will also be taking part in this event. With: Sulaiman Addonia (ER), Adnan Adil (IQ), Alhadi Agabeldour (SD), Nisma Alaklouk (PS), Ubah Cristina Ali Farah (IT-SO), Zuher Aljobory (IQ), Huguette de Broqueville (BE), Saskia De Coster (BE), Fikry El Azzouzi (BE), Rose-Marie François (BE), Kenan Görgün (BE), Maarten Inghels (BE), Betlehem Isaak (SE), Hazim Kamaledin (IQ), Boris Korkmazov (RU), Caroline Lamarche (BE), Abdullah Maksour (SY), Majid Matrood (IQ), MohaNad Jacob (IQ), Hoshang Ossi, Mariane Sluszny (BE), Jeroen Theunissen (BE), Annelies Verbeke (BE).
Dawit Isaak fled to Sweden in the late 1980s, to escape the aggression in his native country. He was granted Swedish citizenship. After the Eritrean War of Independence he returned to his fatherland and supported its reconstruction, amongst others through the weekly called Setit. It was a plea for journalistic independence and freedom of speech, an internationally recognised human right and precondition for a democratic society. While Eritrea began to show more dictatorial characteristics, Isaak kept fighting for democracy and freedom of press. In 2001 he was imprisoned without any form of indictment, charge or trial. The same values Europe advocates brought this journalist in grave difficulties.
The FreeDawit organisation works to bring about the release of Dawit Isaak and other prisoners of conscience. With a replica of Isaak's cell, the organisation wishes to raise awareness for their plight. At the same time, the prison cells offers a different look on the refugee crisis Europe is currently undergoing. After the Syrians, the Eritreans form the largest group of immigrants to reach Italy by boat. Many of them are arrested and locked away at the border.
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VIDEO: Fragments from the movie "Imprisoned – the untold story of Dawit Isaak" : A film by Gellert Tamas & Maria Magnusson.