Home | News    Thursday 22 December 2011

Ethiopia: Swedish Journalists convicted of terror support

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

December 22, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) – An Ethiopian court on Wednesday found two Swedish journalists guilty of supporting terrorism and illegal entry to country.

Johan Persson, a photographer, and Martin Schibbye, a reporter, were arrested on 1 July after they entered Ethiopia’s Ogaden region from Somalia along armed fighters of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a separatist group labeled by Ethiopia as terrorist organization.

The court said both are found guilty of supporting and promoting the outlawed rebel group. The two Swedes have admitted to illegal entry but denied to supporting terrorism.

The case is adjourned for December 27 for final sentencing. Convicts could face up to 15 years of of behind bars under country’s controversial anti terrorism proclamation. The prosecutor has requested sentences of 18 years in prison against the two Swedes to both charges.

The court ruling has returned wider condemnation from a number of international human right organizations.

Human Rights watch called it "unfair trial" and "sham convictions" further said the chief purpose of Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law is to suppress the legitimate work of the media.

Reporters without Borders in a statement termed the verdict "disgraceful".

"Instead of proving their guilt, the judge accuses them of failing to prove their innocence. This is back-to-front," Reporters without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said.

Reporters without Borders argued that despite their illegal entry the two Swedes never supported terrorism or had any intention to support rebels but where there only to conduct their legitimate journalist work.

The rights organization called on the Swedish government to step up its diplomatic efforts for the release Persson and Schibbye.

Earlier to the verdict, Reporters without Borders on Tuesday wrote a letter to Ben Emmerson, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms calling upon him to visit Ethiopia and persuade authorities of the horn nation to stop using counter-terrorism as a weapon to suppress freedom of expression.

The United States which considers Ethiopia as its close ally on regional war against terrorism, has also voiced concern to the situation of free press in the horn of Africa’s country.

In a press statement released today the US Department of State said although US government understands country’s concern of terrorism to national security however, "As we have made clear in our ongoing human rights dialogue with the Ethiopian Government, a free press is an important element of democratic society".

"We will continue to monitor the ongoing trials of journalists on terrorism-related charges, and will continue our dialogue with the Ethiopian Government on press freedoms," the Department of State said.

(ST)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


Wedding in Juba - How can you tell if a bridegroom works for Nilepet? 2017-02-24 05:25:41 By Deng Kiir Akok The Nile Petroleum Corporation is a national Oil and Gas Corporation, which engages in oil exploration, production and marketing. Famous for its abbreviation Nilepet has been a (...)

Bashir’s congratulation for Trump remains double-edged sword 2017-02-21 08:47:41 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman This is a note to the readers of this article about my use of the phrase double-edged sword. It means that Omar al-Bashir’s Speedy congratulation offer to Donald Trump (...)

South Sudan: Why ’NO’ for peace and ’YES’ for war 2017-02-20 20:45:12 By Tor Madira Machier The region and the International community has been on a campaign in a bid to end the civil war in South Sudan right after its inception in December 2013, yet the very (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Militias of Bashir’s Regime and the Proxy War (1) 2017-02-08 21:49:09 Sudan Democracy First Group Militias of Bashir’s Regime and the Proxy War (1) War in the Blue Nile: Militias in the hunt of refugees and displaced population Introduction Throughout its rule, (...)

More refugees flee to Uganda than across Mediterranean 2017-01-25 09:15:39 January 25, 2017 Uganda welcomed more refugees last year than the total number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean into Europe. “Europe should learn from the way Uganda and other (...)

Carter Center welcomes new regulations on humanitarian affairs 2017-01-12 07:53:16 The Carter Center ATLANTA, Januarg 11, 2017 – The Carter Center welcomes the recent regulations issued by the government of Sudan aimed at facilitating humanitarian relief throughout the country (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2017 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.