"Journalists are not Terrorists" Says EFJ ahead of Verdict for Swedish Journalists Arrested in Ethiopia

Today the

European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) renewed its call for the release of two

Swedish photojournalists Johan Persson and reporter Martin Schibbye in

Ethiopia. They were arrested on 27 June 2011 while reporting on the rebel

movement, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which is fighting the

Ethiopian government in the region. The two journalists were also injured after

coming under fire from the Ethiopian military. 


colleagues are clearly not terrorists, and should be released immediately",

says EFJ President Arne König. "This is what the EFJ has claimed since the

first day, and we see that Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson have been able to

show that without a shadow of a doubt in the court".


will be in court again on Wednesday 21 December for what is expected to be the final day of the trial and also the day on which the court will present a

verdict on their case. The journalists are said to be risking up to

15 years imprisonment, in a worst case scenario. They were originally accused

of also working with ONLF guerillas in the Ogaden area. These charges were

dropped, but the two journalists are still being accused of supporting the




Swedish Union of Journalists has had two representatives in Ethiopia since Monday this week.

They will talk to the families of their colleagues and be in the Court to offer

support on the 21 December.


to Swedish media reports, the two colleagues were successful in the last parts

of the Court hearings, as they were able to tell the court of the working

methods of the media with help of American and British war

correspondents.  Two Swedish editors also acted as witnesses to support the statements of

Schibbye and Persson that they were in Ethiopia only for a journalistic

purpose. Both

men deny any terrorist

accusations but admit they entered Ethiopia without permission.


aim of the two journalists was to investigate how the oil industry exploiting resources in

Ethiopia is

behaving in

connection with human rights. They were specifically interested in Lundin

Oil, a company in which the Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt was on the

board, and had investments, before becoming a minister.


expect our

colleagues to be able to enjoy Christmas at home with their families", said


Since June

this year, eleven journalists have been accused of terrorist activities in

Ethiopia, most of them locals. In November alone, six journalists were charged

with terrorism. 


is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in over 30 countries.

For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235.2200