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Swedish Journalists Deny Supporting Ethiopia Rebels

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12/06/11

  09:42:00 pm, by admin, 563 words  
Categories: Ethiopia, Press

Swedish Journalists Deny Supporting Ethiopia Rebels

Swedish Journalists Deny Supporting Ethiopia Rebels

Peter Heinlein | Peter Heinlein

VOA News

Two Swedish journalists have told an Ethiopian court they were upholding the highest traditions of their profession when they were arrested in the company of rebels in the restive Ogaden region.

Ethiopia has accused the pair of supporting a terrorist group in a case which is attracting international attention.

Journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson told a three-judge panel Tuesday they had gone to the insurgency-wracked Ogaden region to investigate the activities of a Swedish oil firm.

The firm, Lundin Oil, was accused of hiring as guards Ethiopian troops accused of human rights violations. Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is a former member of Lundin's board of directors.

The two journalists were captured June 30, allegedly in the company of armed rebels of the Ogaden National Liberation Front, which Ethiopia regards as a terrorist organization. If convicted of supporting terrorists, the men face up to 15 years in prison.

During more than an hour of testimony, Schibbye said his contact with the ONLF was strictly professional. He rejected charges that he and Persson had been given weapons training by the rebels. He said a video introduced by the prosecution showing him holding a rifle had been recorded in a hotel parking lot in Somalia where he had interviewed a former fighter for the al-Shabab extremist group.

Veteran defense attorney Tomas Olsson is among more than a dozen Swedish observers, journalists and diplomats attending the trial. He says the two journalists appear to have answered the prosecution charges effectively.

"They have very clearly explained why they were in Ogaden, and it was the story about the oil companies' impact on the civilians' livelihoods, and that was the interesting part, and that they had no intention to take part in the armed conflict and that they didn't have any bias on any side, neither the Ethiopian side nor the ONLF side, and that's the core of the case."

Olsson says testimony before the court has established the defendants as highly-regarded investigative journalists with extensive experience in challenging and sometimes dangerous environments.

"They have studied the trafficking problem in the Philippines," he added, "they have studied the refugee situation in Kenya and Somalia, they have been doing reportage about the neo-Nazis in the United States and so on, so they have done reportage about actual and important things that have happened in our world."

Defendant Schibbye told the court that, last year, he spent 199 days covering conflicts in 16 countries.

The case is closely followed in Sweden because of the Bildt connection. But it is also attracting attention among press watchdog groups and other foreign correspondents.

Sweden's ambassador to Ethiopia, Jens Odlander, says many journalists with experience in combat zones have offered to testify, and two have flown in for the trial.

"Something very impressive is happening," Odlander says. "We had a mail sent out to a few contact people we know about, some journalists, and they forwarded it to maybe 800 plus foreign correspondents, mainly from Anglo-Saxon countries, and we had at least 20 people who were ready to come and witness, and very many people told us they would write a story about this case."

The two Swedes are among 10 journalists currently on trial in Ethiopia on terrorism-related charges. The other eight are Ethiopians, including five who have gone into exile and are being tried in absentia.

Tags: press

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Comment from: C'est moi senait [Visitor]
C'est moi senait

We all know it that sooner or later weyannes law stands no where and that depends on how the swede Sida a charity org. Will spend their tax payees money next year. This is a dirty game of weyannes to black mail the charity fund and collect cash. The Ethiopia court is nothing but a merkato toilet. I feel ashamed to see the courts name broken and the nr. Of beggars stands outside collecting a left over cigarett from the ground, it looks like a 1970s Toilet of pizza .
Well, at least ,it is better the swede build a new court house, a civilised one than what weyannes has now, a Kangaroo court house ,dirty as it is. Gimmatam uncivilised donkey court.

There is no use to keep the swede . It is a shame to keep them there waiting for weyannes beggar law. Release them at once before Ethiopia become a laughingstock of a western civilised court system.
A newly born souther Sudan and Al Shaba have a nicer and clean court house than this weyannes beggar.
May be I can build them a new one with a polish worker

12/06/11 @ 22:50
Comment from: tamirat [Visitor]  
tamirat

this is a double standard situation for what is going in Ethiopia.If ethiopian government isnot hiding the genocide they commit in ogaden and if the western countries arenot saying anything then what? who is the real terrorist? is it the ethiopian woyane regime that is not allowing food aid and journalist to freely report from ogaden or the ogaden national liberation front who want to bring dignity to itis people?.I think enough is enough the woyane regime must come to hague criminal court for the genocide they did against the innocent people of ogaden and the western countries must put pressure onthis brutal regime that terrorize everybody in the region and finally,the journalist never kill,rape a women nor they commit any illegal activities in ogaden except they were reporting from this petrolium minnig company named ludin from sweden and the enviromental devatation they create in ogaden and its people.therfore the journalist must be free.

12/07/11 @ 01:18
Comment from: menzew [Visitor]
menzew

these guys have committed a serious crime and should be dealt with accordingly. entering a sovereign country w/out a visa is a crime.in my view they are spies too if not catalysts of conflict and war.

12/07/11 @ 08:57
Comment from: Beqa [Visitor]
Beqa

Do they think Ethiopians are fool and they could cheat them this way?
If they are not supporting the Islamic terrorist what were they doing with them?

The point is that some cheap and money worshiper western journalists, politicians and others are selling themselves for money to the Arabs serving them to spread the Satanic version of Islam most of the Times comes from Saudi. Even some Jewish journalists are doing that as we know that New York Times journalist was against Ethiopia for the sake of primitive, backward and Nomadic Muslim terrorist in Ogaden region of Ethiopia.
These Swedish and other west European Journalists, so called aid workers and the likes are the hidden enemies serving the Arabs to fulfil their agenda all over the world. Their agenda is spreading the type of Islam terrorising the world.

So, The Ethiopian govt must not treat these bastards so called journalist as innocents. If they were not caught, they would spread lies with films and papers about Ethiopia Supporting the terrorist. They also could not be journalists but criminals or spies using Journalism to pretend as peaceful individuals.

This is a national security matter. And you have to treat them as foreign enemies came to Ethiopia to attack. Don’t give even a little respect knowing they were very much prepared to affect Ethiopia. You also have to understand there could be a savage and big force behind moving them around to affect Ethiopia.

Put them in Kality and treat them as worst criminals against the nation. If Ethiopian journalists do the same thing against Sweden or any western nation, believe me, the punishment they get could be hell on earth. So, treat others the way they treat you. No less,no more.

No one has the right to come to any country and do the way he or she wants. That time is gone. The idea and behaviour western journalists going to any country they want and filming or write about is over. The system they have with propaganda is over. It is not working.

If they want to talk, write or do what ever, first they have to start in Saudi Arabia where there are billions of unbelievable stories are. But they don’t do that. Instead they call them allies/friends because of oil and money they are loosing their brain and conscious. We know, some sick and evil western journalists, politicians, aid workers are serving the Arabs interest in Ethiopia, too. The Arabs primary interest is spreading its satanic version of Islam which is Wahabism and Salafism.

12/07/11 @ 10:44
Comment from: Geremew [Visitor]
Geremew

Do they think Ethiopians are fool and they could cheat them this way?
If they are not supporting the Islamic terrorist what were they doing with them?

The point is that some cheap and money worshiper western journalists, politicians and others are selling themselves for money to the Arabs serving them to spread the Satanic version of Islam most of the Times comes from Saudi. Even some Jewish journalists are doing that as we know that New York Times journalist was against Ethiopia for the sake of primitive, backward and Nomadic Muslim terrorist in Ogaden region of Ethiopia.
These Swedish and other west European Journalists, so called aid workers and the likes are the hidden enemies serving the Arabs to fulfil their agenda all over the world. Their agenda is spreading the type of Islam terrorising the world.

So, The Ethiopian govt must not treat these bastards so called journalist as innocents. If they were not caught, they would spread lies with films and papers about Ethiopia Supporting the terrorist. They also could not be journalists but criminals or spies using Journalism to pretend as peaceful individuals.

This is a national security matter. And you have to treat them as foreign enemies came to Ethiopia to attack. Don’t give even a little respect knowing they were very much prepared to affect Ethiopia. You also have to understand there could be a savage and big force behind moving them around to affect Ethiopia.

Put them in Kality and treat them as worst criminals against the nation. If Ethiopian journalists do the same thing against Sweden or any western nation, believe me, the punishment they get could be hell on earth. So, treat others the way they treat you. No less,no more.

No one has the right to come to any country and do the way he or she wants. That time is gone. The idea and behaviour western journalists going to any country they want and filming or write about is over. The system they have with propaganda is over. It is not working.

If they want to talk, write or do what ever, first they have to start in Saudi Arabia where there are billions of unbelievable stories are. But they don’t do that. Instead they call them allies/friends because of oil and money they are loosing their brain and conscious. We know, some sick and evil western journalists, politicians, aid workers are serving the Arabs interest in Ethiopia, too. The Arabs primary interest is spreading its satanic version of Islam which is Wahabism and Salafism.

12/07/11 @ 10:48
Comment from: john john [Visitor]
5 stars
john john

No surprise they want use the journalist immunity card and also the Swedish citizenship influence as bargain chips. As the mater of fact Swedish government support any rebels who fight and destabilize Ethiopia.

12/07/11 @ 19:33
Comment from: isreal [Visitor]
isreal

“They have very clearly explained why they were in Ogaden, and it was the story about the oil companies impact on the civilians livelihoods”

No matter what they try to investigate they committed a crime.
If really do they care about the livelihood of civilians they should`t be violated the law of a sovereign country by crossing the border and accompany by a terrorist group, as Beqa put it rightly “If they were not caught they would spread lies with films and papers about Ethiopia supporting the terrorist,…they were very much prepared to affect Ethiopia”
Because they disregard and even fall to apologize they must sentenced to maximum penalities of the law of the land.
I would like to thank the security force of Ethiopia who cought this terrorist.

C`senait eat your heart Ethiopia is better off without you.

12/07/11 @ 20:26
Comment from: Let us be responsible [Visitor]
Let us be responsible

I believe this journalists may not be terrorists.But is it fair any one enter the country with out any permission by the name of journalism.Which democratic country allow this situation?Let us be fair,let us not be blinded by our ambition inside us.Let them have fair trial and be free or …
Whether meles,Challaor Gizachew ruled the country,this is our country,Let us be responsible,dont defame your country for the sake of your wild dream.This is what the republican media doing about Obama everyday.

12/08/11 @ 06:17
Comment from: Asmerom Legese [Visitor]
5 stars
Asmerom Legese

Well done the incumbent regime of Ethiopia. Aliens must be kept out of Ethiopian affairs! Period.

12/08/11 @ 10:37
Comment from: TEDDY [Visitor]
TEDDY

What can they say more .Afterall for
the crime minister carrying pens ,papers ,laptop ,cameras ,records and even food and medecine to help the poors is worst than using arms or explosing bombs against inocent peoples .By the Geragebu when you say “If they want to talk, write or do what ever, first they have to start in Saudi Arabia where there are billions of unbelievable stories are” don’t tell us that your leba master and his agazis ignore tha the Homeland of their BIENFAITOR is also the center of
Wahabism and Salafism as you’re supposing denouncing !!!!

12/08/11 @ 17:51
Comment from: Shameful [Visitor]
Shameful

I told you so, sooner or later these guys will go home free. But not your journalists. What Meles is interested about is Swedish Money and not Swedish journalists:)

All the silly game of court case is just a teater of woyane:) :) :)

I do not buy the security of the people of Ethiopia. If so was the case, how about Ogaden, isn’t it Ethiopia? LOL

12/09/11 @ 13:41
Comment from: Angelina [Visitor]
Angelina

Geremew,

You are absolutly right, if they weren’t caught alive they would have spread lies of manufactured genocides like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Why do these so called NGOs never write about the imprisonment of the whole female population of Saudi Arabia and its savage religious practices? I wonder! Ethiopia is a target of these anti Christian countries like the Scandinavians and the Arabs because of its Christianity. Those Ethiopians who think they can take advantage of this and condemn Ethiopia are pure opportunist traitors.

Nonethless Ethiopia has to free these idiots because they are only stumbling blocks to our progress. They are not worth of being treated like human beings. Throw them out to their godless land. Ethiopians should learn that next time it is always prefferable just to shoot them like wild dogs and that will spare Ethiopians the curtosy of court which these idiots never deserved.

12/10/11 @ 06:31
Comment from: Yesfesese Kibe Aytafes [Visitor]
Yesfesese Kibe Aytafes

Great points again.
These Swedish ‘Journalists’ would have been bundled up and sent to Guantanamo Bay had they been found in Afghanistan or Pakistan following the Taliban. If the terrorists, Islamic or otherwise, are not threatening the West they are regarded as innocent people whose story should be listened to. It is a well documented fact that no unauthorised journalist was to report USor UK actions in Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Why don’t they investigate the right wing elements (Neo- Nazis) in Sweden, USA or UK who are constantly plotting to kill immigrants in western countries. If they had tried investigate the guy who killed a lot of students in Norway before he committed the atrocities, they would have done something positive. The sad thing is we have Ethiopians amongst us who believe in the white man. They think the white man is to bring salvation to every problem the world is having, He is the cause, for God’s sake!
A terrorist is a terrorist wherever and whenever.
They should of course be sent home making sure this will serve as a lesson to all future ‘journalists’ who think Ethiopia is a soft spot.

12/10/11 @ 15:55
Comment from: Mr Fair [Visitor]
2 stars
Mr Fair

Sorry to to tell you guys, but their white skin have saved them and will save them. Just imagine, if they were Ethiopians of any ethnicity, they would have been shot on the spot, no second chance. In Africa, especially the beggar dictatorships, only Africans suffer.

Keep beating your chest under oppression!

12/12/11 @ 09:46
Comment from: moges [Visitor]
moges

The government has been proving its duty protecting the region from any sort of aggressors. It is no longer mystery that why these fake “journalists” preferred to get into the country through illegal means. But in all occasion the government needs to show its highest standard discipliner measures. European has been committing atrocity against to region for very long time. Yet such sort of mentality has been existed today and would like to commit as ever.

12/13/11 @ 14:18

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