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SWEDES JAILED IN ETHIOPIA

OGADEN

EU to press Ethiopia over Swedish journalists

The EU is continuing its efforts to convince the Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi to immediately release two Swedish journalists jailed in the country for terror crimes.

EU to press Ethiopia over Swedish journalists

“Our message that the Swedes should be freed immediately will be conveyed by commissioner Andris Piebalg,” said Maja Kocilancic, spokesperson for Catherine Ashton to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN)

“It is the same that we said in our statement after the verdict – that the Swedes should be released at once.”

Piebalgs will be meeting Zenawi during the two closing days of the African Union summit meeting, which was opened in Addis Ababa on Monday.

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt’s right hand man, Frank Belfrage, will also be attending the meeting but the ministry was not willing to disclose whether Belfrage will broach the subject with the Ethiopians.

“Work is being carried out. But we will not elaborate on the talks that we are conducting,” said ministry spokesperson Anders Jörle to DN.

However, there are still differing opinions on whether putting pressure on the Ethiopian government may have the opposite effect and be detrimental to the Swedes.

According to DN, a government-produced film about the case of the two Swedes was shown on state TV in Ethiopia, in which the regime defended its right to convict foreign journalists in contact with terrorist groups like the ONLF.

Among other things, the film featured prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s demand to release Schibbye and Persson, which was called “indirect colonialism” by the country’s ministry for communications, reports the paper.

In the film, a spokesperson from the Ethiopian foreign ministry made it clear that he government has no intention to fold to pressure from the west, according to DN.

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POLITICIAN

Swede ‘beaten in Ogaden’ housed at embassy

A Swedish-Ethiopian politician from Gothenburg, assaulted on a trip to Ogaden, has been safely housed at the Swedish embassy in Addis Ababa were immediate arrangements are being made for him and his family return home.

Dayib Mohamud, a part-time Green Party politician from Gothenburg, was detained and beaten in front of his children, the man’s brother told Swedish media on Monday. Ogaden is a restive region where two Swedish journalists were arrested two years ago on suspicion of abetting terrorists.

Dayib Mohamud landed in the Ethiopian capital on Tuesday along with one of his children.

“They’re now at the Swedish embassy to discuss arrangements for a trip home to Sweden,” his brother Qualinle Dayib told news agency TT.

Dayib Mohamud has lived in Sweden for almost three decades and is a Swedish citizen. He had returned with his nine children, all born in Sweden, to Ethiopia to visit their native Ogaden region, according to the brother.

The man told his brother on the phone that he had been assaulted and thrown from a moving vehicle by eight soldiers, before being taken to a house where the beating continued.

“He is very badly hurt and is having problems moving. There are no hospitals in the area,” the brother added.

The rest of the family, eight children and the mother, were expected to arrive in Addis Ababa by bus on Tuesday evening and plans are being made for the entire family to return home to Sweden as soon as possible.

The Ogaden region between Ethiopia and Somalia has been contested for more than a century. Since 1984, the Ogaden National Liberation Front has taken up armed combat with security forces. The Swedish Foreign Ministry (Utrikesdepartementet – UD) advises Swedish citizens to stay clear of the region.

The Local/cd

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