• Sweden's news in English

Journalists deny being trained by rebels

AFP/The Local · 6 Dec 2011, 12:39

Published: 06 Dec 2011 12:39 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The journalists dismissed video evidence presented by the prosecution earlier as proof they were trained by rebels.

In the video the journalists are seen holding automatic rifles, but which they said belonged to a security guard and not a member of the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).

"This video doesn't show some bizarre training with weapons in a parking lot, it shows another day at the office for a foreign correspondent," one of the accused, Martin Schibbye told the judge.

Reporter Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson -- both freelancers -- were arrested in Ethiopia's Ogaden region on July 1 after entering the country from Somalia.

They were arrested after a gun battle erupted between Ethiopian troops and ONLF fighters, and are charged with supporting a terrorist group and entering the country illegally. They face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty.

Charges of participating in terrorism were dropped last month due to a lack of evidence.

The journalists both testified they were in Ethiopia to report on the activities of the Swedish oil company Lundin Oil in the Ogaden.

They said they met ONLF chiefs in London and Nairobi before meeting with about 20 members of the group in Ethiopia, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Somali border.

Persson said the purpose of meeting ONLF contacts was for professional reasons only. "I came to Ethiopia for one purpose, that's to do my job as a journalist," he said.

Sweden's ambassador to Ethiopia, Jens Odlander, said he was happy the accused had a chance to provide a statement in court, which he said they had been "preparing for weeks."

Story continues below…

"We have always believed at the Swedish embassy that they are journalists," he told AFP after court Tuesday.

The ONLF has been fighting for independence of the remote south-eastern Ogaden region since 1984, claiming they have been marginalised from Addis Ababa.

The trial continues.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

18:47 December 6, 2011 by nolikegohome
did they have a valid visa to enter the country in the first place?
21:03 December 6, 2011 by Mamama
What is evidence more than contacting terrorist rebel leaders outside the country and entering the country illegaly led by hired terrorists?
22:14 December 6, 2011 by T.M
Dear Editor,

The two above comments come from Ethiopian government supporters. The point is that Meles knows full well the 2 Swedish journalists are not terrorists. That is why the charge was dropped recently after keeping them in jail since July. Meles is known for abusing human rights and needs such occasions to showcase "rule of law" exists in Ethiopia. It is free PR, that's all. All you need to do is check how judges are appointed and who gets what kind of judgment. Also, listen to Meles's speech on "terrorism" in parliament you can be assured that is how the courts rule. Don't take my word; let your embassy hire a native speaker and translate for you. One last thing is that Meles is a very vindictive person [not statemanly, really]. Remember Sweden intervening for the release of pro-democracy leader Birtukan? This is Meles's way to settle scores with Sweden. I have been reading stuff in ETHIOPIAN RECYCLER that I recommend you do. Ciao!
Today's headlines
Swedish PM visits Iraq for talks on Isis
Stefan Löfven (left) and Haider al-Abadi (right). Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Stefan Löfven will discuss the offensive on Mosul with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Illicit abattoir kept more than 100 bulls' penises
A couple of young bulls not related to the story. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Dried cattle genitalia, goats' heads and hundreds of litres of lard were just a few of the many strange finds discovered when police raided a property in Sweden.

This is officially Sweden's most beautiful beard
The most beautiful beard in Sweden. Photo: Memo Göcek

According to a jury of barbers and 'well known bearded profiles', that is.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Injured Swedish photographer protected by 'guardian angel'
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen on another occasion. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Photographer Paul Hansen thanked his lucky stars for surviving sniper fire while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

My Swedish Career
'Swedish people love it, but they find it quite odd'
Scottish entrepreneur William Macdonald. Photo: Michael Campanella

Meet the web developer and entrepreneur using traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing to break the ice with Swedes.

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.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
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
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
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
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
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