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
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
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.
colleagues to be able to enjoy Christmas at home with their families", said
this year, eleven journalists have been accused of terrorist activities in
Ethiopia, most of them locals. In November alone, six journalists were charged
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