• Sweden edition
 
SWEDES JAILED IN ETHIOPIA
Bildt slams paper over 'amateur' reporting

Bildt slams paper over 'amateur' reporting

Published: 17 Oct 2011 11:26 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Oct 2011 11:26 GMT+02:00

Bildt has come under fire for not doing enough to help two Swedish journalists held in Ethiopia on terrorism charges, amid reports that their investigations could damage him.

Photographer Johan Persson, 29, and reporter Martin Schibbye, 30, both freelancers, were arrested in Ethiopia's Ogaden region on July 1 after entering the country from Somalia with the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).

Persson and Schibbye have been charged with engaging in terrorist activities, abetting an illegal terrorist group and entering the country illegally.

Their trial is set to open on Tuesday, and they risk up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Bildt enraged the media, and others, when he failed to immediately demand the release of the pair and implied shortly after their arrest that they only had themselves to blame since "they were in a zone where we have issued a

travel warning."

He has since called on Ethiopia to free the pair, but media and human rights organisations have blasted the foreign minister for dragging his feet and failing to secure their release in the crucial first days of their detention.

The case took on a new dimension when Swedish media in September revealed the pair were in the remote southeastern region of Ogaden, populated mainly by ethnic Somalis, to investigate the activities of a company affiliated to Lundin Petroleum, a Swedish oil group.

Bildt served as a Lundin board member from 2000 until 2006 when he was appointed foreign minister.

Several media have said Persson and Schibbye were in Ogaden to report on human rights abuses being committed in Ogaden by the Ethiopian military to protect the foreign oil operations -- including Lundin's -- in their war against the ONLF rebels.

The ONLF, formed in 1984, has been fighting for the independence of Ogaden, which the rebels say has been marginalised by Addis Ababa.

Kerstin Lundell, the author of a book on Lundin's activities in Africa, wrote in a recent newspaper article that "the fact that Carl Bildt has reason to hide what is going on in Ogaden could explain why these journalists are still in prison."

"Innocent civilians are being jailed, tortured, raped and killed because the military thinks they may hurt the oil companies' operations. Lundin Petroleum is no longer there, its activities have been taken over by Africa Oil. But this company is a part of the Lundin sphere," she wrote in Sweden's paper of reference Dagens Nyheter on September 13.

Bildt has remained tight-lipped on the subject amid the government's expressed policy of silent diplomacy.

Pressed to explain his role in Lundin's operations by several media in recent weeks, Bildt told Dagens Nyheter on Sunday that he was no longer a board member when Lundin was granted a concession for oil exploration in

Ethiopia.

He has previously denounced what he calls a "political campaign" against him.

Later on Sunday, Bildt took the unusual step of hitting back at DN's "amateur" reporting on the matter.

In a piece published on the Swedish newsmill opinion website Newsmill, Bildt slammed the paper for alleging he'd made false statements about his connections to Lundin.

According to Bildt, DN wrongly equated Lundin-family foundation holdings in Africa Oil, a company active in Ethiopia, with Lundin Petroleum.

“But the question the put to me was actually about Lundin Petroleum, and not other companies that I don't know anything about,” Bildt wrote.

“I'm obviously going to ask for a correction, without great hopes that I'm going to get one.”

Desiree Pethrus, a member of parliament for the government coalition member Christian Democrats, on Sunday lamented Bildt's handling of the matter.

"I think he could have made more political statements. It is of course a consular issue, but it's also a political issue and I think Bildt should have picked up on that," she told Dagens Nyheter.

The editor-in-chief of news magazine Filter which Persson and Schibbye were on assignment for, Matthias Göransson, has meanwhile reacted strongly to the Swedish government's lack of involvement and its claim that the issue is not a political one but a consular one.

"It's very, very strange the way Carl Bildt and (Prime Minister) Fredrik Reinfeldt... have claimed this is not a political issue. It's totally crazy. Because Ethiopia has made it a political issue," he told AFP.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, interviewed during a recent visit to Oslo, told Norwegian daily Aftenposten the pair were "at the very least, messenger boys of a terrorist organisation. They are not journalists."

"Why would a journalist be involved with a terrorist organisation and enter a country with that terrorist organisation, escorted by armed terrorists, and participate in a fighting in which this terrorist organization was involved? If that is journalism, I don't know what terrorism is."

His comments have raised fears the pair will not be given a fair trial.

According to the press freedom watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists, Ethiopia is one of Africa's most restrictive countries for media.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

12:38 October 17, 2011 by Lukestar1991
F****** Bildt, the slimy, evil b******. There should be a public enquiry into this and he should at the very least lose his job. Its heartless and callous individuals like him that actually put the security of Sweden and the rest of the world under threat.
19:01 October 17, 2011 by Uncle
Mmm, Bildt slamming a newspaper when it makes false accusations? Mmmm, what does this remind me?

Bildt...Aftonbladet.... false accusations... .mmm... Then Bildt seemed to be more than excited about keeping his distance from false reporting when it was not about HIM personally. But, then he made it look that the government cannot express opinions about media reports.

What has changed since then? The law was adjusted meanwhile? What a useless snake.
22:12 October 17, 2011 by Great Scott
Bildt is a member of the corporate crooks association, he has and never will have any respect for anyone without the means to line his pockets.
10:28 October 18, 2011 by Munir Ahmed
Ogaden (ONLF) Islamic terrorist cold-blooded massacre record, ignored by $$$ hungry Swedish reporters, and $$$ hungry Kerstin Lundell...Racist double standard.

BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6588055.stm

REUTERS:

http://af.reuters.com/article/ethiopiaNews/idAFLDE74D0CU
19:43 October 18, 2011 by BBKING
Wanna-be heroes caught in their quest for fame.
15:36 November 1, 2011 by conboy
Bildt is the modern face of the old pro apartheid Höger Party good to see his true colours coming to the fore. Myopic liberals would want to wake up and smell the coffee and see him for the crook he is.
Today's headlines
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
The view of Kebnekaise's southern peak, soon to be the second highest peak in the country. Photo: Stockholm University

Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year

Mount Kebnekaise's southern peak will no longer be the highest point in Sweden by 2015, researchers predicted on Thursday, adding that the change will spell a major blow for tourism in the region. READ  

Gothenburg preschools end school photography
Moments like these are a thing of the past for Gothenburg preschoolers. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Gothenburg preschools end school photography

Preschool managers in Gothenburg have decided to ban class photos at preschools in their municipality, citing the different economical situations of families as one reason for the change. READ  

Presented by Stockholm Business Region
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
This is Stockholm. Don’t worry - be happy. File photo: ASIFE/iStockphoto

Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm

Many consider Sweden a pretty safe place to live, but what if an icicle pierces your little toe or a ray of midnight sun sets fire to your kettle? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered when it comes to sorting out insurance in Sweden. READ  

Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
The cast of The Cold Swedish Winter.

Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show

The Local chats to UK funnyman Danny Robins about his new radio show The Cold Swedish Winter, which is making waves on BBC radio. He talks elk, moose, and what it means to be a Swedophile. READ  

Allergic Swedes demand separate metro carriages
Peanut photo Shutterstock

Allergic Swedes demand separate metro carriages

A Swedish allergies association has asked Stockholm public transport officials to set aside certain carriages on the metro for those with allergies - banning nuts, animals, and strong fragrances in transit. READ  

Most Swiss want Sweden to be next door
Flag photo: Shutterstock

Most Swiss want Sweden to be next door

Who said there were hard feelings between the oft-confused Swiss and Swedes? A new survey shows that Swiss people would rather have the land of Abba as their neighbour over anyone else in the EU. READ  

What's On in Sweden
Photo: TT

What's On in Sweden

Plenty of events around Sweden to get your teeth into this weekend, with Sunday capped off with a free visual-music concert in central Stockholm. READ  

Elections 2014
Red-greens stay way ahead of Alliance in polls
The Allliance party leaders. Photo: Mats Andersson/TT

Red-greens stay way ahead of Alliance in polls

While the gap between the red-greens and the Alliance is decreasing, the opposition is still far ahead, scoring 48.8 percent of support in a fresh poll. The Alliance came in at 37.7 percent. READ  

Malmö end 14-year Champions League wait
Striker Magnus Eriksson sprints onto the pitch at the end of Malmö's 3-0 win over Salzburg in a Champions League qualifier. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö end 14-year Champions League wait

Malmö overpowered Salzburg on Wednesday night to become the first Swedish team to reach the Champions League since 2000. READ  

Swedish royals boycott Chuck Berry's ceremony
Queen Silvia. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish royals boycott Chuck Berry's ceremony

Members of Sweden's royal family have revealed that they boycotted the Polar Music Prize ceremony on Tuesday, due to Chuck Berry's past conviction for human trafficking. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Blog updates

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

689
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se