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Swedes' terror trial in Ethiopia delayed

AFP/The Local · 18 Oct 2011, 11:24

Published: 18 Oct 2011 11:24 GMT+02:00

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The Swedes arrived in an Ethiopian court Tuesday for the start of their trial on terrorism charges, but the hearing was pushed back until Thursday, their lawyer said.

Photographer Johan Persson and reporter Martin Schibbye, both freelancers, have been held in jail since they were arrested on July 1 with Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebels after a battle with government troops.

However, the trial was delayed to allow lawyers to be appointed for two fellow co-accused, Somalis who Addis Ababa accuses of crossing with the Swedes and the ONLF illegally into Ethiopia.

"The first and second defendant were not represented by law," defence lawyer Sileshi Ketsela told reporters outside the courtroom, adding that a public defence lawyer would be appointed for the two Somalis.

"We were supposed to present our objections to the charges... but since it has to be heard together with the other defendants it was postponed," Sileshi added.

An AFP reporter at the court said the Swedes, dressed in collared shirts, smiled at the court room, packed with around a hundred people. As they left the courtroom, Schibbye -- who turned 31 on Monday -- blew a kiss to the crowd, which was mostly foreigners.

The ONLF, formed in 1984, has been fighting for the independence of the remote southeastern Ogaden, populated mainly by ethnic Somalis, which the rebels say has been marginalised by Addis Ababa.

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The Swedes were charged last month with being engaged in terrorist activities, aiding and abetting a terrorist group, and entering the country illegally without permission from neighbouring Somalia.

Rights groups have already criticised the process of the trial, after Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said in an interview last week that the Swedes were "at the very least messenger boys of a terrorist organisation."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:57 October 18, 2011 by nathan45
And we keep sending these guys aid why? Its obvious from this that they dont care jailing our people for terrorism. If journalists from Africa where jailed here every one would be crying racism.
16:41 October 18, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
People are not at liberty to enter Sweden without a valid Visa.

Being white doesn't make you right, two Ethiopian journalists are also facing charges in court, so please don't get started on racism and enough of this condescending attitude about aid.

Svenska Dagbladet of course complements the picture of fattiga u-länder with a photo of a herd of goats gathered outside the front gate of the court house.

The Swedish adventurers very well knew where they were going - like Tarzans or some kind of amateur James Bonds - stealthily - to another sovereign African country, Ethiopia and to the troubled Ethiopian province of Ogaden which they entered illegally, from Somalia and without a visa. They also had full knowledge that their guides the Ogaden National Liberation Front is classified as a terrorist organisation along with al-Qaeda and Somalia's al-Shabaab.

The Swedes "were arrested on July 1 with Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebels after a battle with government troops" ?

Suppose ( Heaven forbid) they had expired during the gun battle?

Their next assignment could be to check out freedom of the press in North Korea, and in Afghanistan by consorting with Taliban, maybe also do some investigative reporting on Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad and by taking themselves into Iran illegally, perhaps do a job on Baluchistan, or the Kurds, or the Revolutionary Guards?

Q: Why can't the people who are already there, do the investigative journalism?
19:19 October 18, 2011 by Imperor
Cornelius: I have seen several documentaries by the BBC and other "insignificant" medias where they do travel with the Taliban and sit by them as they snipe at coalition forces. Should they be arrested as terrorists as well? Lots of journalists "jump the fence" into North Korea, seen those docus too. Ross Kemp went with a bunch of terrorists in Gaza (the guys even the Hamas are hunting) when they set up an IED. The list goes on.

This isn't new you douche. It's called reporting! Journalists are supposed to objective you know, not just embedded with US-troops!

A: Because they don't even get a trial, they are just summarily shot in the street, or maybe tortured for a few months before that. Torture that regularly involves the rape and torture of family members and children of the "accused".

Foreigners mostly get better treatment, and if they had come from any other nation than Sweden (or Somalia which doesn't even have a Government) they would have received some real support from home and probably be free already!
19:34 October 18, 2011 by BBKING

These are just some unlucky adventurers caught in the middle of nowhere.

Respect Ethiopia's Sovereignty no matter how poor we are friend. The fact that you are sending aid to us, doesn't mean you can take a dump on our territories without a visa just as we can't get to our country for the same reason. They need to deal with the consequences of disrespecting a country's immigration laws and also who knows they might have been involved in promoting terror the verity of which is for the courts to figure out.

I am amazed by how much publicity they have gained while thousands of children are starving to death on a daily basis in East Africa.
20:01 October 18, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg

Sons of Adam, Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye have a lot of careful, credible and straightforward explaining to do - less of self-justification. Merely claiming that Hunter Thompson riding with the Hells Angels was the precedent that inspired them, probably won't be enough to inspire mercy and compassion in the Ethiopian judges...
23:31 October 18, 2011 by OUIJA
To think about it.

Ethiopia: Swedish woman sentenced 25 years in prison

11-06-2011, 04:15. Author: Dave

A Swedish woman who has been on the run since 2007 has received a 25-year prison sentence in Ethiopia on charges of fraud and human trafficking, Sweden's TV4 news reports.

Ingela Jansson, one of the Sweden's most notorious fraudsters, was arrested in Ethiopia in January 2010, having absconded from Sweden in 2007.

25-year prison sentence to a Swede who was not too sweet for the Ethiopian government.

The two journalists should think about it, as well as their parents,Amnesty International, Reporters Without Boarders, Carl Bildt and Co. and some journalists who do not understand that if you do something wrong, you have to pay for it. No excuses are valid. I hope they get away with their stupidity, but I have my doubts.
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