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Eritrea's information minister: "A Swedish citizenship does not give any special privileges."

Yemane Gebre Meskel, Eritrea's Minister of Information 

This article was translated from Swedish using online software

New signs of life from Asmara. In an interview with Martin Schibbye, the Eritrean Minister of Information believes that a solution to the question of Dawit Isaak must also provide a solution for all those arrested in 2001.

By Martin Schibbye | Blankspot

At the top of a mountain overlooking the capital of Asmara, Eritrea's information department is located. The building is on a cliff that is symbolically hovering over the city.

Since 2001, the Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak has been locked up without prosecution or judgement. Something that prompted the UN to accuse Eritrea of crimes against humanity.

Information Minister Yemame Gebremeskel is accustomed to talking about the case and is also one of those that can affect his fate.

But he thinks that the case has gotten too big of proportions.

"To reduce the relationship and the historical relationship between our countries to a misunderstanding about Dawit Isaak is unfortunate and unjust," said the information minister at his office.

The substantive question is simple: regardless of the fact that Dawit is both Swedish and Eritrean, he believes that his crime has been committed in Eritrea and then the state in which the crime was committed must deal with it.

The alleged crime of Dawit Isaak is, according to the minister, is not his journalism, or his views – but that he was part of the opposition group G-15.

"He was in a group that we accuse of treason, so it is not possible to separate him from the group."

I think the outside world would be very positive if you just showed a sign of life from him, a hair? Or did anyone meet him?

"The problem is: Why is this a case that Sweden is pushing so hard that it almost risked the entire EU cooperation with Eritrea? He is one of 15 people who we accused of something serious, so why should Dawit be separated out of the group? We look at his case as we look at the other Eritreans who were arrested in 2001"

But if you look forward - is there any solution in the future for the group? Any time frame for a trial?

"It is not I who can answer it, I can only talk about it in abstract terms and point out that we can not discriminate or special treatment to him just because he is also Swedish, when there is a whole group involved. So what do you do then?"

Yes, what are you doing?

"He is treated like the other Eritreans, that he has a Swedish citizenship does not give him any special privileges."

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