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Ambassador meets detained journalists

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08:03 CEST+02:00
The Swedish ambassador to Ethiopia, Jens Odlander, was allowed to see the two jailed Swedish journalists in Addis Ababa on Friday, in what is seen as a positive step by observers.

The journalists allegedly entered Ethiopia illegally together with rebels classed as terrorists by the regime. Following their arrest, the pair were taken to an arrest in the city Jijiga, before being moved on to the capital.

“He has met them in the federal police headquarters in Addis Ababa for a good hour this afternoon”, said the Foreign Ministry's Communications Director Cecilia Julin, adding that the pair are feeling well under the circumstances.

However there is still no official word on what charges they are being held on, reports TT.

With the Swedish government still trying to avoid a diplomatic incident, there has been a policy not to openly criticise Ethiopia, for fear of inflaming an already sensitive situation.

On Thursday however, the Foreign Ministry published their first report in three years on the human rights situation in 188 countries, which is highly critical of the Ethiopian's record.

Amabassador Odlander brought food, clothing, medicines and toiletries for the pair who are being kept in their own single cells. He also added that the injuries suffered by the journalists have now been treated by doctors.

The fact that the federal police have taken over the investigation is seen a positive sign, according to an expert on Ethiopia. Kjetil Tronvoll, who is a professor at Oslo University, said “their security will be dealt with much better.”

Meanwhile journalists around the world continue to campaign on the pair's behalf. The Swedish Union of Journalists (Svenska journalistförbundet - SJF) and Swedish Union of Photographers (Svenska Fotografers Förbund) are demanding their release, while the International Federation of Journalists has condemned the arrests "in the strongest possible terms" and demand that the Swedes be given access to healthcare.

The Swedish foreign office has requested further opportunities to see the jailed Swedes.

"We have requested further access to them. We want to see them as often as possible," said Kent Öberg of the foreign office information department to TT on Saturday.

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