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Swedes to remain in Ethiopian custody

TT/Rebecca Martin · 20 Jul 2011, 15:48

Published: 20 Jul 2011 15:48 GMT+02:00

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“They were remanded back into custody,” said Anders Jörle, head of the ministry’s information department to news agency TT.

The Swedish journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson were arrested and injured in the closed border area Ogaden, on July 1st, when caught in a battle between Ethiopian government forces and the ONLF guerilla.

The journalists entered Ethiopia illegally together with the rebels, who are classed as terrorists by the regime.

Following their arrest, the pair was taken to a detention centre in the city Jijiga, where they were permitted to meet briefly with Swedish ambassador Jens Odlander.

After many conflicting reports as to where they were being held, the pair was subsequently moved to Addis Ababa.

Last week the Swedish foreign ministry officials found out that a preliminary remand hearing had been conducted as early as July 6th in Jijiga, prior to the move of the two Swedish reporters to Addis Ababa.

However, a new hearing, where the two Swedes would have legal counsel present was scheduled for this week and took place on Wednesday morning.

According to Jörle no charges have been filed against the two reporters but the preliminary investigation is still ongoing. The two Swedes, under suspicion for terrorism crimes, have denied all allegations.

“They maintain that they were there as reporters to carry out journalistic work,” Jörle said.

Despite their ordeal the two journalists are not feeling too bad and are not being ill-treated.

“But of course it isn’t much fun to be stuck there,” Jörle said to TT.

Both the Swedish Union of Journalists (Journalistförbundet) and Reporters Without Borders have criticized the fact that Schibbye and Persson will be expected to pay for their own legal fees, according to daily Svenska Dagbladet.

“That they are held because they were carrying out journalistic work is absurd in itself, but that they will be forced to pay their own legal representation is really unacceptable,” said Jonas Nordling, chairman of the union to SvD.

Swedish Reporters Without Borders have started a collection to contribute to the cost.

Story continues below…

So far they have managed to collect 30,000 kronor ($4,745) but chairman Jesper Bengtsson thinks that at least the double will be needed.

And at the Journalists’ union it is felt that more must be done by the foreign ministry to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to release the two Swedes.

“Anything less than an immediate release is unacceptable. I am expecting the Swedish government to take a clear stance on this,” said Nordling in a statement on Wednesday.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:59 July 20, 2011 by lovedealer76
the's no point for their fellow journalists to make a financial contribution for their legal fees,let the swedish goverment deal with it,i've lived in the UK and never heard such a move before when it comes to english citizen being held,the goverment always deal with it
19:39 July 20, 2011 by TheOriginalBlackMan
These two so called journalists broke the law of a sovereign nation, punkt. Give them 2 years and fine them 500,000 SEK. Ethiopia has every right to let them pay for their lawyers and stay. If you wish to act "privilege", perform the full act.
19:53 July 20, 2011 by jamac
Ogadenia is not part of Ethiopia on International law it is the Disputed area or land.These two brave men who went it in the Ogaden to show the World the Mass Graves Ethiopian Dictator is desparetely trying to cover up will be free.The fact that maters is the Milloins of Ogadens will not be free and they will live under these evil Humans called Ethiopians.Ethiopian Mentalatty is as long as they Kill Somali person they are going to haven seriously.Over 250.000 Armed Soldiers are stationed in Ogaden and all they do is rape,robe the Ogaden civilians and these are facts.The Red Cross,Doctors without Borders and All the Human Righs Groups have been kickedout of the Ogaden,no Journalist can go in to report the Human rigths abuses commited by Ethiopian invading Forces.Males Zenawi have been in Power for the past 21 Yrs and he has killed Milliong of Ogadens this must be stoped at once.We need Justice and Freedom out god giving rights NOW.
20:59 July 20, 2011 by Grateful_Human
the Juditial system is not independent in Ethiopia. I hope for their immidiate release. TPLF must stop ethnic cleansing (like Srebrenica) in Ogaden before it is too late.
21:13 July 20, 2011 by ye_hiwot
Though the reporting of the newspaper has significantly improved, it is amazing how some people think about what can Sweden to other countries. Mr. Nordling should have understood what the sovereignty laws are. Claiming for an immediate release is such an empty slogans. These two so called journalists have to be punished more severe than even the ONLF guys.
21:48 July 20, 2011 by belachew

you are so poor. you can not fool any one.

get real information from your families back in addisababa.
22:45 July 20, 2011 by kidan
is Ethiopian govenment supposed to pay for their legal costs? Funny enough, why?

You damn racist Swedes, can I i come to Sweden by crossing illegally across your borders and do reporting?

If there is governemnt in Ethiopia, then, these people must be kept in prison for at least 25 years. Even Ethiopians are imprisoned for many years without evidence. These are foreign white terrorists from Europe who are caught red hand inside Ethiiopia illegally and fighting Ethiopian soldiers?

They are saying they are Journalists. Are Journalist allowed to cross borders of countries illegally? Are jouranlists different human beings? or is it because they are white?

Please keep them for 25 years minimum. Please if you release them you are giving a green light to others to do the same thing again. Keep them in custody until Jesus comes again. Please do not accept bribe. They are collecting money to bribe you and they will use it against you when you release them by bribe. Do not take money, just keep them in prison for at least 25 years. I am serious. Keep tthem in for 25 years so that you know white is a human like any other human being. A crime is a crime no matter who commit it.

My advices to Swedes, you better keep your dirty mouth shut because you will make life more miserable for them. Reason, your government can do little about it. They are not in Sweden. They are in Ethiopia which a sovereign nation like Sweden and even more.
22:51 July 20, 2011 by jamac
Belachew thank god I'm no in Ethiopia you know for a fact you your self would cut my throut in heart beat if I dare to speak freely.Your time has come Now is time for you face Justice and be hanged like the Dictator you work for.

Kiding I'm Ogaden and I'm not Ethiopian for your Info and how dare you to talk Swedes like that do you know that they feed you.You know beter than that oh nope you don't You are ignorent evil Ethiopian who stays a life by Begging around the World and think they are Super power backward Ethiopian
23:02 July 20, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
The Swedish journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson will start receiving funds from Aftonbladet, Expressen, Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet. These papers are already planning how they can convert them into the next edition of Dawit Isaak. They must have a banner to keep on selling copies.

What these two "journalists" committed, according to the published information, was to enter a country illegaly and then join the group, rebels, guerrillas, whateve; that is fighting against the government. Whether this government is liked or not liked in Sweden, thanks to the indoctrination made by the "big" 4, is irrelevant. It is the Ethiopian government and they have the right to do whatever they need to do to show the two "national Swedish heroes" that you just cannot enter a country in an illegal form and then join the armed opposition.

They were lucky to come out alive, real lucky. Now, let us see if they are gutsy enough to take whatever is coming to them without shouting "Mamma, mamma".
23:12 July 20, 2011 by lovedealer76
"mamma mamma"! lol
01:04 July 21, 2011 by kidan
I agree , let the heroes and the adventurous swedes face the heat without saying or calling ther mother . They should have known the risk before. If it was me , i would not have actually spared them. I could shot them right there.

Imagine, if two Ethiopians were to be found illegally in sweden with rebels in sweden or in USA, ... They would not only arrest them, but they could actually bomb Ethiopia on top.

Let the them face the heat and the law of the country.
02:03 July 21, 2011 by h2m
@kidane you are mistaken as you blood sucker master. first do not compare a civil state with rule of law and democracy with the prison where party gets 99.9% like Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi election. Second, the west have established a system where personal rights are protected and individuality grievance are sorted out by ballot not by Pullet like in the Ethiopian mentality of kill, Rape, robe and burn.

A simple question for the Woyane apologists why are you denying access to Ogaden for the aid agencies and journalist when millions are starving like Somalia? simply YOU DO NOT CARE!
03:06 July 21, 2011 by EthioCANADIAN
Absolutely funny. journalists seeking a story became the story..And to see them show their "white skin" when being captured just shows what they really think LOL

Moreover, as we've seen in the "News of the World" incident, journalists are beginning to think that in the hunt for a story that it is OK to break laws AND IT IS NOT!

That said, I respect the work of journalists and I am absolutely not happy with the way the Ethiopian government treats journalists.
07:48 July 21, 2011 by Asalefew
Us every one know Ogaden fighters are fighting to establish the fundamental Islam group to control east Africa and the sea. The movement is supported by Arab fundamentalists who are living Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen and others region under Eritrean government player .The reason is Arab fundamentalist do not want to see strong and christen Ethiopia. Different time we sow different Arab nationality fighters who were killed and capitulate. By the name of democracy ONLF cannot be the winner of this war. the two journalist case would have be manage under international law however Ethiopia and Sweden have good diplomatic relationship that help to resolve the problem out of the court .
08:26 July 21, 2011 by Munir Ahmed
Even Swidish government does not want to pay for their defense. Comedy.

Welcome opportunist "reporters" to the slooooow Ethiopian court system. Take a number and get comfortable, you'll be waiting for a long, long......long time!
10:26 July 21, 2011 by J. L. Belmar


The sun shines east, the sun shines west,

And now we know where justice is best,


Our little mammy.

Our heartstrings are tangles around Ogaden

W're comin'

Sorry that we simply goofed

W're comin*

Hope and trust that someone pays, oh oh oh

Our little Mammy

We would walk a million miles

For some pytti panna

Our Mammy! Oh, oh oh.
13:15 July 21, 2011 by Methusalem
Millions of hungry Somalis are crossing into the territories of Christian Kenya and Ethiopia, and the ungrateful Somalis remain hard-hearted and unrepentant. When do Somalis be capable of knowing humility?

Well, if I were in the shoes of the Ethiopian authorities, I would send these two Swedes to the al-Shabab controlled regions of Somalia, so that they give their hands to the hungry babies. God save the innocent!
14:23 July 21, 2011 by Grateful_Human
First of all, Ogaden has never been Ethiopia. It is a disputed area. And this is a fact: see this official google map:


That said, Our day will come and no matter how much you hate us, we will not be like you. We will be your good neighbours and show you brotherhood, because we believe when we are equal brothers we can achieve more together. As for now, we will keep our struggle to be FREE.

For all who want to opress us in the name of religion, do not misuse and abuse religion. It TPLF and COs who terrerise people everyday!

Finally, I have to admit some of our people are collaborating with TPLF otherwise TPLF could never and ever dare to patrol our borders. See the video all the people in the fight are Somalis. We will solve this and negotiations are ongoing with the regional malitias so that we can all fight against TPLF united.
14:52 July 21, 2011 by Ogadenboy
@Asalefew,I think you not involve about sitaution you being backward bacause what the people are talking and what you bring here is total differen,ogaden peoples are muslim no doubt that , most Tigree are christan but the fact is ogaden are lookin thier self determination and no one can depress their right because they are fighting untill they reach their independent but those agents you were talking,are protect Ethiopia bacause this is old days story and everyone knew what is going on the Ogaden .
15:37 July 21, 2011 by kynan
@Asalefew. so You do massacring the Somali Ogadens because of their Religious believes?
15:41 July 21, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
No more discussion, please" The two, according for what I red in Dagens Nyheter, were filmed by the Ethiopians when firing arms that wer provided by the guerrillas. Arms, not shooting film with their cameras.

If the aboved is confirmed to be true, no more debate. Let them be hanged, not for participating in a fight against an established government, but for being stupids, which is a far much worse crime than beeing a "contra".
16:49 July 21, 2011 by Grateful_Human
@J. L. Belmar, why no more debate? Are you afriad that the world will know more about TPLF's attrocities in Ogaden and elsewhere in East Africa as we continue to expose them here.

The debate will go on as long as we get free and fair referrundum; until TPLF allows ICRC and Geneva Convention in Ogaden; until journalists, foreign or local can report freely in the region.
19:24 July 21, 2011 by kidan
ONLF is trying to use the democracy card its best. There is no democracy in islam. Islam being the most barbaric religion on the face of the earth. It does not make sense at all a muslim to claim about democracy. If a Muslim does not show up in a mosquee, he will be punishe and judged. Women covered with black cloth day and night. Women cannot go to school and can not drive cars? Muslim women owned by muslim men like objects.

If ONLF supporters talk of democracy, it is is a joke. Democracy is not in the blood of a muslim person.

The west the most stupid people who support and advocate islam in the name of democracy. But they are digging their own grave. Muslims will bury them alive. Democracy from home to whom? Democracy from ONLF, Al-shabab? Democracy from Iran or Pakistan? or from Afganistan or Yemen or Suadi Arabia or from Somalia or from Ogaden? kkkkkk

In anyways, the swedes will be kept for 25 years in Ethiopia. We will make sure they will vegetative in prison until Jesus comes. Ethiopia is Ethiopia, Ethiopia is not a banana republic where a white man can go in and do whatever he wishes. That is what makes us Ethiopians. Anyone who does not like or accept Ethiopia must to go to hell.

By the way, the Ogadenis are our own people and no one can care about them than their own government. ONLF is a terrorist organisation that is harboured by white people. ONLF has offices in London, Stockholm, New York, Viena,...

Who said Arabs are the only terrorists. There are Europeans terrorists too. Note, ONLF killed 75 Ethiopian civilians and 7 Chinese experts and admitted from London that it did killed the 75 Ethiopians and 7 Chinese right from its London office? If Ethiopia was to harbor a British rebel or terrorists who is against Brittain, Ethioipia could have been bombed in broad day light. But you know, white can do any crime and go away with it.

The Ethiopian goverment must have closed the British Embassy in Ethiopia until Britian extradites the ONLFites who are based on London to Ethiopia. But what can you do we do not have a strong governemnt that can stand for Ethiopia and whites go away with their crimes now and then as they wish.

And now you tell me ONLF is fighting for democracy? Democracy that kills people? A democracy that terrorize Ethiopian citizen? A democracy of islam? Where the islamic democracy on earth?
20:18 July 21, 2011 by Munir Ahmed

Ogaden is part of Ethiopia and will remain so forever, period.

I was born in Ethiopian Ogaden, my father was born in Ethiopian Ogaden, and no homeless Somali terrorist paid for by rogue state Eritrea is gonna tell me where I belong.

Instead of dreaming of another country, go back and build the one you destroyed, Somalia.
23:30 July 21, 2011 by Grateful_Human
This is why people join ONLF. Because instead of admitting your faults and trying to right your wrongdoings, you blame the victim!! you insult the oppressed! Moreover, I dont understand why you talk about religion. Were ICRC and New York Times newspaper preaching Islam? Are Swedish journalists Muslims? I think You better not divert attention from the debate. The debate is about the suffering of Ogaden people by SOME TPLF ruthless guys (when I say some, I know many old TPLF guys respect how we struglled together against another opressor -unfortunately these good people are powerless now).

Second, insulting me from behind your PC will make you (and all of us) no GOOD. We Africans and all Human beings we shall solve our conflicts equally. But if you insist that you colonize me and you sleep peacefully, then if that happens, then I am not a rational human being.

By the way the name Ethiopia and Abyssinia were both from Greek and Arab origins respectively and they are meant for black inhabited areas; in that sense Ogaden could be said is Ethiopia. Other than that, NO WAY!
04:00 July 22, 2011 by kidan
Why did they kill the 75 innocent Ethiopian citizen and 7 Chinese expertise?

if you believe that why we do not ask for good system than asking for ogadenis only? if you believe in that why you ask ICRC or new york times? why you do not work with Ethiopians for Ethiopia than begging west?
04:30 July 22, 2011 by Munir Ahmed

I was sipping coffee in Jijiga 2 months ago, giving money to your hungry Somali famine immigrants. Where were you?

Only Somalis living abroad sitting on their rear-ends and living off European and American government handouts have time for such nonsense, instead or rebuilding their own country.

Jijiga militia was enough to gun down your terrorist friends who crossed border, even holding fire to save opportunist White reporters...no need to call-in regular army.
05:23 July 22, 2011 by kidan
Munir Ahmed,

I do not agree with the fact you are insulting people that they live on handout. The Ethiopian government even lives on hand out of UN, IMF, WB,... so ONLF, TPLF are the same thieves.
08:06 July 22, 2011 by Grateful_Human
Kidan, despite our differences, I respect you for being a gentleman. Thanks.
10:24 July 22, 2011 by Munir Ahmed
Kidan and Grateful_Human, get a room...Glad I could help you find common ground in foreign government housing.

As for Kidan who claims there are no Islamic democracies, have you heard of Turkey, or Indonesia (largest Muslim population on planet)?
13:32 July 22, 2011 by Sheba
There are thousands of ethiopians in Kenya because of the dictatorship in their country...it's amazing how such a poor country can be so corrupt and oppressive...as a Kenyan the Somalis i have seen are doing well financially than Ethiopians who are always lagging behind...
17:35 July 22, 2011 by Munir Ahmed

You think Ethiopia is corrupt and oppressive, then go back to Somalia...ooops, forgot, the country exists in name only...then go to your second home Eritrea, ooops, only locusts there too...so lay low in Kenya where government is trying to kick you out, because all you do is cheat, steal, kill and sell your women...And that's what you measure as reason Somalis are doing financially well.
20:48 July 22, 2011 by kynan
I don't know why the hopeless Woyane Cadres, like So called Munir (tadase) kidane and others insult the Great religion of Islam,don't they Know that nearly 70% Ethiopians practice Islam?

the Issue in the Ogaden or Somali region is about crimes and genocide commit ed by your leader Males Zanawe.
21:45 July 22, 2011 by kidan
Islam and terrrosim are the same. And Muslims are liers. Ethiopia has 30% muslims, not 70%. but I understand lying is the main part of islam.

Woyanes are kicking your asses. It is mulsim who has burnt 60 churches in Ethiopia and it is Mulsims who cut Ethiopians head by knives? No christian does such barbaric human act on the planet. Islam is ....

ONLF has killed 75 innocent civilian Ethiopians and 7 Chinese experts. The swedes to associate themselves with terrorits like those was a big mistake. But they will pay the price.

Democracy is not in the blood of islam. If Islam has the power, it will not hesitate from killing all non muslim in the world. They have done this long ago. They have killed 10 million Iranians and they have made about 7 million Iranians to accept Islam with a sword. Iranina will tell you what happened to their ancestor when Mohammed followers invaded the whole middle east and even part of Europe todays Turkeys. The turks were executed for refusing to accept islam and the rest were islamized by force.

But the west is joking by playing with islam in the name of democracy. They are playing with fire. Islam will bury the west alive. Islam is a threat to world peace.
23:21 July 22, 2011 by kynan
Kidan. am sure, you don't have any belief or religion so that whatever you says is useless and means nothing because you are frustrated Wayane Blood sucker.
23:56 July 22, 2011 by Grateful_Human
Kidan, if 30% of Ethiopians are liers then it is highly likely you are also lying 1 out of 3 times since you are also Ethiopian.
04:56 July 23, 2011 by Munir Ahmed
Islam's reputation is soiled because of Muslims who refuse to condemn other Muslims who commit rape, murder and outright massacres in the name of Islam.

When Christians in Serbia massacred Muslim Bosnians, Christian NATO bombed Serbians and stopped atrocities. But when Muslim terrorists like Al-Qaeda and ONLF massacre civilians, Muslims give out candies and celebrate...Shameful and disgusting!
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