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Swedes meet Ethiopian PM over jailed journalists

The Local/pvs · 5 Feb 2012, 12:41

Published: 05 Feb 2012 12:41 GMT+01:00

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The Swedish delegation headed by foreign minister Carl Bildt's right hand Fredrik Belfrage met recently with Zenawi for bilateral talks, according to a report in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily, which cites Ethiopian state radio as its source.

The Swedish foreign ministry has however declined to comment on the reports.

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

The pair were jailed for 11 years by an Ethiopian court in December after being found guilty of supporting terrorism and entering the country illegally.

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

Prior to becoming foreign minister after the 2006 election, Carl Bildt sat on the board of Lundin Petroleum and he has been subjected to criticism for perceived inaction since the journalists' arrest.

Social Democrat Marita Ulvskog has criticised Carl Bildt for not taking the opportunity to meet Zenawi at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, which they both attended.

Carl Bildt's press secretary has defended the foreign ministry's "quiet diplomacy" approach to the case.

"The discussions which we conduct, when we conduct them and what we say is nothing we publicise as we are convinced that it wouldn't benefit Schibbye and Persson," Anna-Charlotta Johansson told DN.

Story continues below…

Schibbye and Persson announced in January that they do not intend to appeal their sentences and instead invest their hopes on the country's "tradition of pardon".

For a pardoning process to commence, the two Swedes will have to pen a letter to the Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi.

They will also need to confess in writing and apologize for entering the country illegally and being in contact with the rebel group ONLF.

The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:15 February 5, 2012 by RobinHood
Mr Zenawi will explain how much "aid" must be secretly transferred from Sweden into his private Swiss bank account. The "aid" will be paid, the journalists released, and Mr Zenawi will buy a row of expensive houses in London, and a Ferrari.

Such is life in Ethiopia.
17:45 February 5, 2012 by T.M
Meles was simply extending his enjoyment of two humiliated foreigners and to score points with the government of Sweden because the latter had spoken against the unjust imprisonment of Birtukan Mideksa. The Swedes' lawyers were smart for not appealing the case and instead taking the pardon route. One thing they did not understand is that the pardon Meles talked about is NOT Ethiopian at all. It is his proven method of causing permanent damage to his victims. Once pardoned none could get back to participate in national issues. They are to keep silent and/or encouraged to leave their country - and shut their lips tight in the country of their exile! We are not exaggerating this at all. Meles's right hand man Information Minister Bereket in 2011 had approached both the VOA and Deutsche Welle stations to not broadcast opposition voices because his government identified these as terrorists!

The problem with the Swedish journalists is that Meles will not be able to enforce his other agenda, that is, muzzle them for life! He must be regretting he offered the pardon in the first place. The two Swedes did take a chance to report on the plight of the Ogadenis and Oromo insurgents. Meles has called the insurgents terrorists. Ethiopians who challenge him are also terrorists. The fact that Meles says so does not make it true, however. Read More in Ethiopian Recycler

20:19 February 5, 2012 by star10
@T.M: well-said!
20:41 February 5, 2012 by Munir Ahmed
Robinhood, Ethiopians do not worship White people like you Eritreans. Swedes' will be released after appropriate respect is given by their government.

VIDEO LINK OF SWEDISH REPORTERS PLANNING ILLEGAL TRIP (boasting about organizing "private army"):



Mr. Schibbey used to be the editor for the magazine "Rebell", the official paper of "RKU", Sweden's Revolutionary Communist Party's youth organisation. Communism á la Marxism Leninism.

Mr. Schibbey and his comrades declared that Sweden only can be reformed by revolution, armed revolution if necessary, and that Stalin's murderous campaigns, terrors equalling Hitler's, were mere fabrications of the ruling class and thus untrue.

As for the concept of democracy, Mr. Schibbey and "RKU" proclaimed that the dictatorship of the proletariat is the ultimate form of democracy.
23:53 February 5, 2012 by T.M
And who is Meles Zenawi? Meles Zenawi is a Marxist Leninist who seized power through the barrel of the gun and now rules Ethiopia as a Stalinist!! Not kidding at all!
00:41 February 6, 2012 by h2m
dear readers can any body pin point how the mentality of dictators works. I really wonder whether they are human being given their political psychology which revolves around the notion of kill, rape, destruction and score setting. needs extensive research. may be they are vampires.
07:40 February 6, 2012 by blue2012
A Marxist jailing a Marxist that is Schibbey.

A dictator jailing a future dictator that is Schibbey.
09:52 February 6, 2012 by Munir Ahmed

- Double-digit economic growth last 7 years (IMF & Economist Magazine Report)

- Primary school enrollment was 20%, but now 90% (UN report)

- 5 hydroelectric dams completed in last 7 years, more under construction

...And, yes, he routed the army of terrorist State Eritrea and invades Somalia at will to clean out fanatic Islamists and pirates, the same terrorists clueless Swedish reporters recruited to smuggle them into Ethiopia.
10:19 February 6, 2012 by RobinHood
That would be the same Mr Zenawi who rules a country where 16% of the population live on less than a dollar a day, 40% of children sleep on the floor, 75% of people sleep with their sheep and goats, the GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world, 8% of infants die in childbirth, there is one doctor per 100, 000 people, and the average lifespan is 45 years. Mr Zenawi has so much to offer the world's economists at Davos.

How old are you Munir Ahmed? Getting close to 45 yet?
14:23 February 6, 2012 by Shine your eye
Munir Ahmed where do u come from? Are you sure you are not related to Zenawi? For crying out loud it is for people like you that Africa is still the dark continent. Do you like the dictators are keeping Africa back. Maybe you need a second colonisation to be able to emancipate yourself.
21:31 February 6, 2012 by Oromia
Meles zenawi is world class stupid terrorist , and he rob ethiopia for 20 years he is very corapeted person i have never seen PM Like him in ethiopia ,also z ethiopian justice court is under him . He prizon more than thousend the majorit people Oromo with out justice . We Oromo people we love thoses hero journalist plus sweden . Meles releze immdiately z journalist, u are useing the word terrorist in misuse . Shame on Melese Zenawi
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