• Sweden's news in English

Swedish reporters plan prison protest

The Local/gm · 1 Oct 2011, 16:24

Published: 01 Oct 2011 16:24 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

John Wirfält and his colleague Sara Murillo Cortes plan to be incarcerated at the Kronoberg facility in Kungsholmen, Stockholm, to raise awareness of the ongoing cases involving Dawit Isaak, Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson and also to openly criticise the government for not doing more to get them released.

Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak has been held in an Eritrean prison since 2001 without trial and is considered a traitor by the Eritrean government.

Amnesty International has highlighted his case frequently and has called for his immediate and unconditional release.

Freelance reporters Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson have been held in an Ethiopian jail since the beginning of July, facing terrorist charges.

The two Swedish journalists were allegedly in the country investigating Lundin Petroleum, a Swedish oil and mining company, at the time they were arrested together with members of the ONLF guerilla, according to reports in the Swedish media.

Wirfält told daily Dagens Nyheter (DN), ”This is a new way to draw further attention to the imprisoned Swedish journalists Dawit Isaak, Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson. We want to show our criticism of the foreign ministry, which has been the case with Dawit for several years, but also in the second case (Schibbye and Persson). We also want to highlight the vulnerable situation that freelance journalists find themselves in when they go out without having the back-up of an editorial team.”

He added that they are hoping many more journalists will join in with their action, claiming that 40 others have already pledged their support.

Story continues below…

The protesting pair plan their prison stay sometime before October 15, when the trial of Schibbye and Persson is set to take place in Ethiopia.

The Local/gm (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:08 October 1, 2011 by Opinionfool
The BBC's Friday night comedy quiz QI had a question concerning the Pulitzer employed journalist Nellie Blythe (aka Elizabeth Jane Cochran) who faked mental illness to get into an asylum in order to report on the horrific conditions inside. To be imprisoned in a nice effette European jail, even voluntarily, isn't going to make any significant protest. Might make them celebrities for a while in Sweden but the plight of the two prisoners in Ethopia won't be altered by it.
17:50 October 1, 2011 by Svensksmith
Heck, I've been thinking about voluntary incarceration myself. Free room and board, TVs in every room, an exercise facility, medical and dental care. Beats working.
18:03 October 1, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
What " opinionfool" says makes a lot of sense.

We must distinguish between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Maybe we should give the usual quiet diplomacy a chance. What we shouldn't be doing right now is making too much noise about Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson - because that way - confrontation - by which we want to make right out of wrong, might get the Ethiopians' backs up and may put the Ethiopian Government in a position from which they would not like to back down or lose face, insisting on their sovereign territorial rights.

In 1978, I was about to set foot on Finnish soil for the umpteenth time and without a Swedish passport (I had been to Ruisrock a few times a few years earlier,and with no passport control in sight ) but this time I found myself on the same boat back to Stockholm with the Visa Control man's words still ringing in my ears: "Do you think that this is Sweden?"

When it comes to Dawit Isaak, in the eyes of the Eritrean Authorities - even if that authority is all concentrated into the hands of one man, he who personifies authority in the land, namely President Isaias Afewerki - in his eyes and in the eyes and many of his sympathisers including many of the Eritrean-Swedes, there is a significant difference between the the born Swedes Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson and the Eritrean home boy Dawit Isaak. Isaak's Swedish passport not withstanding, on Eritrean soil he is supposed to be loyal to Eritrea and not to be perceived as working for Swedish interests only. I gather that their view is that an ordinary Swedish passport is not enough to give him diplomatic immunity.....

22:59 October 1, 2011 by jostein
I dont know about Dawit Isaak but the rest of these vermin belong in jail. Swedish "journalists" are vile creatures.
01:28 October 2, 2011 by Uncle
Eritrea took the 175th place out of possible 175 in Media freedom according to reporters without borders. Right after North Korea.

Dawit was supporting the war of Eritrea against the "evil" Ethiopia with a high amount of patriotism. Probably re-thinking his opinions when forced to pick a soap up the floor whenever his cellmate Ahmed Ibn Jihad wishes so, after his beloved revolutinaries decided that he was too much of a hassle when writing against THEM.

He took the risk. He lost in his gamble. "Attention to imprisoned journalist" would not assist to remove the "freedom fighters" that are in charge there. I understand the actions of Sweden, but seriously, going TO these countries to write wonderful articles against these governments is equal to playing a russian roulette with 5 bullets in the chamber. Big boy. Pays for being an idiot.
11:31 October 2, 2011 by motti
what soft choice nonsense. They should visit their friends in Gaza and allow Hamas to be theirjailors or at least their "contacts."
15:17 October 2, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
The Great Uncle,

How unforgettably you explain Dawit's predicament !

No easier said than done. It should be easier to move than to remove the "freedom fighters" that are in charge there."

Easier to move them to make their hearts more acceptable to some compassionate influence, even financially induce or convince them - your money or your wife ? Pay them some ransom money, don't treat Afewerk any better than a Somali Pirate but don't insult him - some of the Ethiopians say insults are specially reserved for Mengistu and his donkey.

Easier to induce them to granting clemency to a double agent than to remove the "Freedom Fighters".

What you say the Swedish journalists instead of incarcerating themselves for free in some luxurious prison hotel, could form a commando unit to bring back Dawit?

Then they'd probably wind up facing terrorist charges just like Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson.(I almost wrote Göran Persson).

And then we'd be back to square one and maybe have to send more journalists.


Another commando unit. Or to voluntary imprisonment in protest as a way of extending awareness about the matter

If only one or two of them could have the fortitude to overcome gastronomical temptations for a while, abandon life in voluntary, luxurious freedom and go on a hunger strike instead.

Put their mouth where their stomach is.

Great Uncle, it's being said that it's Addis that's keeping Asmara in power, and Addis is living life without that Eritrean Port ...And grudges about Bad-me and other lost territories now completely under Eritrean occupation ha ha after 29 years.....

It would probably take much more than 29 years to topple the first generation of the Eritrean Revolution....
17:57 October 7, 2011 by Munir Ahmed
Send them to jail in Ethiopia, they can join the other two Swedish clowns...I mean, "reporters."

Ogaden (ONLF) Islamic terrorist massacres, ignored by $$$ hungry Swedish reporters:




Today's headlines
Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission-free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available