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Bildt to meet jailed journalists' relatives

AFP/The Local · 24 Dec 2011, 10:55

Published: 24 Dec 2011 10:55 GMT+01:00

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The foreign minister has, according to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily agreed to a meeting after coming in for criticism over his handling of the case.

Persson and Schibbye were arrested on July 1st and were found guilty of terror crimes by an Ethiopian court on Wednesday. Prosecutors have called for a maximum sentence of over 18 years in prison and are set to announce their decision on December 27th.

Bildt's predecessor as foreign minister, Social Democrat Jan Eliasson, criticized Bildt for comments made after the Swedes were arrested suggesting the two shouldn't have been in the area in the first place.

Questions have also been raised over Bildt's handling of the case in light of claims by the journalists that they were in Ethiopia working on a story about Lundin Petroleum, the board of which Bildt was member prior to becoming foreign minister.

According to Sweden's ambassador in Ethiopia, Jens Odlander, part of the reason for Sweden's "quiet diplomacy" is that the Ethiopian government refused to hold talks with Swedish representatives during the journalists' trial.

Story continues below…

"But as soon as the verdict came, we've jump started the political process to get the Swede's free," Fredrik Spik, consular head of the Swedish embassy in Ethiopia, told DN.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

03:40 December 25, 2011 by ye_hiwot
It turns out to be that the issue is who is going to score politically. The ex-Foreign Minister shouldn't in any case to be criticized for the journalist's arrest. They shouldn't have been there illegally in the first place! I have a frank appreciation to the efforts of the embassy though. It has been handling the case in a civility, quite unlike to the arrogant Stockholm's politicians.
04:08 December 25, 2011 by Med_U
OK, i don't get why people are getting cranky about this issue. They were there to be heros, and i am sure they knew n were ready to pay the price(in their case cost)...they get in the country illegally and they were in contact with groups labeled as terrorist...so why are different organizations saying they are free when they are not. Or is that because they are from sweden they should be free regardless? people should not be blinded because of what is happening there internally...the government can be considered as autocrat but this doesn't in any way justify the fact that these two guys have violated a law of land and that they should be punished accordingly.
10:35 December 25, 2011 by Munir Ahmed
The two Swedish reporters would've been freed long ago with a simple apology from Swedish government, much like New York Times reporter caught under similar circumstance, but Swedish politics and fake "non-profit" groups like CPJ and Amnesty International hijacked the story for their own political and fundraising purposes, forcing the Ethiopian government to put them on trial.

Swedes had their entire trip arranged by terrorists with portfolio that reads:

BBC NEWS: 74 Chinese & Ethiopian oil workers machine-gunned asleep in bed


REUTERS NEWS: UN workers ambushed, killed, kidnapped

10:52 December 25, 2011 by Morenikeji
While it is the duty of any governmnet to safe-guard the interest of its citizens, it should be understood that this is not a licence for individuals to behave irresponsibly and then expect the government to get them out of the consequence of their actions.
04:01 December 26, 2011 by BBKING
His comment that they shouldn't have been there in the first place in my opinion refers not exactly to the particular area but to their involvement in the whole ordeal. As far as I am an Ethiopian, I know that a large part of the country is so peaceful with the exception of this area.

Another face of the story is that if ever extra protection needs to be provided just because they were journalists, why did they, without enough investigation of who they were running with, try to get it from a labelled terrorist group?

For instance, imagine the fate of an Ethiopian journalist who entered Sweden through Norway through illegal means and escorted by a group that is terrorizing Sweden.
13:48 December 28, 2011 by Jamal112
Ethiopian let them free the two Swedish journalists , Ethiopians said '''they were supporting terrorism., ONLFOgaden National Liberation Front - not terrorist, just people fighting for their freedom n to free their own land which dirty Ethiopians colonized, who they gonna fool ,they just making excuse,,simply these journalists went to find out the abuse , torture n the killing Ethiopians doing the civilian who resided in the Ogaden region.,let me tell you the history about Ogaden a little...THE British handed over their country Ogaden 1948 to the Abyssinian (Ethiopia), secretly without consulting the OGADEN people. The abyssinian then come with force and occupied the Country, The response of Ethiopian Government has been mass killings and other attrocities, while spending millions of dollars to create puppet organizations and propaganda to prosecute and humiliate the people of the ogaden, Currently innocent children and woman and old people are dying daily, which are all in the ogaden region and expose the mass starvation and death of thousands of innocent people and they don't allowed visiting journalists, so that way they can do whatever to torture these innocent people in Ogaden..
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