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Jailed Swedes subjected to fake executions

The Local/rm · 13 Sep 2012, 08:13

Published: 13 Sep 2012 08:13 GMT+02:00

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“They wouldn’t answer the questions. And then it was...’but if you don’t say anything we’ll shoot your friend.’ I know Johan passed out once when they pretended to execute Martin,” said Kjell Persson, father of Johan Persson to SVT.

On the SVT investigative news programme Uppdrag Granskning set to air on Thursday, the pair’s families speak out about what happened to the two Swedes while imprisoned in the infamous Kality-prison outside of Addis Ababa.

Linnea Schibbye Steiner, wife of Martin Schibbye, told SVT that her husband and his friend were made to stand with their backs to a man with a rifle and were asked the same questions over and over to make them confess:

“And when they didn’t, they tried to play them off against each other. They were told that ‘if you don’t confess we’ll shoot Johan’ or ‘we’ll shoot Martin’. And then they fired into the bush next to them.”

Sources have revealed to Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter that the account is corroborated by footage smuggled out by an Ethiopian defector who has since fled the east African country.

Uppdrag Granskning’s report also shows that the two Swedes had sustained more serious injuries during their arrest than what was previously reported.

Ambassador Jens Odlander, first to meet the two Swedes after they were captured by the Ethiopians, said they were very shaken when he first got to see them.

“They were awfully close to dying,” he told the paper.

Story continues below…

Schibbye and Persson were arrested last year with rebels from the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) after illegally entering Ethiopia from Somalia.

The Swedes were in the remote southeastern region of Ogaden, populated mainly by ethnic Somalis, reportedly to investigate the activities of a company affiliated with the Swedish oil firm Lundin Petroleum.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

07:49 September 13, 2012 by prince T
They should be grateful for being aalive. They should not have meddled in other ppl affair. Not to think of the silent diplomacy government dat will not come to ur aid. The guys deserved what they got in ethopia
07:59 September 13, 2012 by RobinHood

Do you think illegal immigrants caught in Sweden should be encouraged to confess their crimes in the same way?
08:32 September 13, 2012 by byke
Now, why did I expect this type of reporting was going to happen after they were released. Swedish politics may be vying for a place on the world stage, but at the cost of moral delinquency which will be emulated by the people, thus creating a double standard society that is left justifying its actions, no matter how ethically wrong they may be.

Competitive, maybe.

honorable or likable?, hardly.

All we need now is laws introduced like "The right to return" and some sort of ideology that exonerates any wrong doing as long as long as they can prove to be a real swede.

I wonder how Gustaf V would have perceived this modern Sweden.
08:49 September 13, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:


I wrote more or less the same in another thread. But wait. There are still many more things to come: a film about their odyssey, a book, interviews with relatives, articles on corrupted countries like Ethiopia, a play at the biggest and only theater in Stockholm. Evertything one can think about, except that they went to Ethiopia without a pass, jointed the guerrilas, caught by the government and judged and convicted for terrorism. They were released, not thanks to the "silent diplomacy" shouted by Sweden's government, but thanks to the millions of crowns given to the country during the time the "journalists" were in a 1 x 1 meter cell.

Yes, but of course!
09:32 September 13, 2012 by truthworthy
Well, what did you expect from a dictatorship that does not respect the rule of law, human rights and press freedom.

Sweden should immediately cease Aid to Ethiopian dictatorship.
12:27 September 13, 2012 by Cephalectomy
#2 swedes have the possibility to apply for a visit to any country and most of the times get an allowance, immigrants cannot just apply to come to sweden and be welcome. that is the difference
12:48 September 13, 2012 by G Kin

Have the guys served all of the 11 full years of hard labour they were facing? :)

Why should Sweden cease aid?. And remember Africa Oil drilling oil in Ethiopia is largely owned by the Swedish family Lundin!.

13:00 September 13, 2012 by skogsbo
to me they got what they deserved, if you illegally cross a border into a country known for it's corruption, what did they think was going to happen if they got caught. They tried to play against the rules and got caught, but want to abide by the rules when it comes to getting them free! Perhaps they should confess now to what they were really up to?
13:14 September 13, 2012 by 3319abraham
The two journalists are referred to as "freelance" journalists meaning they are unemployed and probably unemployable. Now somehow they have managed to be "heroes" and are not only on the front page of some respectable Swedish newspapers and media. They will soon write best sellers as experts on Ethiopian prison system, writing bestselling books.

Usually, bona fide journalists follow rebels because they support the group's cause. If indeed their purpose was to investigate Swedish oil interests in Ogaden as they claim, they could have easily acquired visas, landed in the capital, rented a land cruiser and visited discreetly any part of the country.

With mind boggling arrogance they underestimated Ethiopia's resolve to ascertain its sovereignty over its territory, (a country that has never been colonized and that in the battle of Adwa, defeated a colonial European power - Italy), their action could have easily led to their tragic end. Hopefully, during their 14 months stay as guests of the Ethiopian prison system, they have learned a few lessons.

Reply to one rude and ill informed comment - "This affair is going to cost Swedish tax payers a great deal of "international aid", how much of that "aid" finds its way into the Swiss bank accounts of senior Ethiopian politicians ..."

My reply is - Ask your Ambassador in Addis Ababa, about Ethio-Swedish relations. SIDA's aid today is insignificant when compared to that of US, UK or China, instead of talking about beer and Jansson's Temptation and blueberry muffins. In the last thirty years, Swedish aid has been significantly scaled down. The little aid that trickles down is not charity and but only investment in buying goodwill and promoting Swedish exports.Sweden imports insignificant amount of coffee while Ethiopia imports Volvo and Scania Trucks, telecom equipment, machinery, spare parts, pharmaceutical products etc.. If Ethiopia was to express a little interest in importing five JAS 39 Gripens and some Swedish arsenal, SIDA's aid would be tripled overnight. Aid is given to assist foreign countries that need aid and it is meant to achieve specific long term interests and pre-defined objectives of the donor country. In any case, it is never donated as ransom to rescue foolish adventurers.

Technology can be acquired but rudeness is comes at birth. Ethiopia is one of the few countries that utilize external aid efficiently and where aid reaches intended recipients. There is corruption in Ethiopia as well as in Sweden. Ethiopia is not notorious in this respect.

Many have tried to defend the two journalists by saying they were simply doing their duty and committed no crime. Do journalists have unrestricted immunity? Are journalists allowed to disregard the laws of the land and foment rebellion without suffering the consequences? If this had happened elsewhere they would be languishing for decades incommunicado in Guantanamo-like prisons.
15:49 September 13, 2012 by BlackLion
Kudos for 3319abraham - that is the point.

Even without the video which is not necessary really, the essence of the story persists.

1) they crossed borders illegally with out visa

2) they were there to promote separatist rebels.

That is the reason why they went to jail. They will still go to jail even if Ethiopia has vibrant free media and a fully democratic government. It is good to give them pardon and let them go!

I thought this was very clear!!! They broke the law - can any one deny that? Or do you guys have the opinion that you can jump in jump out of an African country illegally and support tribal wars? I do not get it! And I wouldn't be surprised if there is abuse (if any) by soldiers when you jump into a war supporting one faction. It is a WAR - do you get it?

The reality is for them it is adventurism in Africa - for us, they are promoting secessionists that could cost us our country or get us into endless wars. It has happened before - we won't let it happen again!
17:36 September 13, 2012 by Munir Ahmed
Resume of Somali-Ogaden terrorists the leftist Swedish reporters championed as freedom fighters against Ethiopia:

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


REUTERS NEWS: UN workers ambushed, killed, kidnapped

20:02 September 13, 2012 by prince T
@robinhood. I am not supporting the method used. The point is that they embeded with those ethopiá regarded as terrorists. If these guys were caught doing video for alqueada, they will spend nothing less than 4 years in detention without trial. I mean they were caught in UK OR US. Manning is an example for u. If they succeded they would have become millionaires and they wont remember me. Dat is y i dont pity them and be grateful dey did not die
09:31 September 14, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:

Besides, they should be happy, if their "story" is true, that they were not raped while being in jail.

They should be grateful that they did not enjoy the specialties developed by the US in Guantanamo, like:
10:43 September 14, 2012 by robban70226

100% agree with skogsbo

to me they got what they deserved!!!
18:14 September 14, 2012 by themoron
the moron says:

They should be very happy that they did not enjoy some of the specialties developed by the US in Guantanamo, such as:



stress positions

sexual abuse

torture by music

sleep deorïvation

temperature extremes

forcible beard shaving

Threas of rendition and threats against prisoner's families

They should close their mouths and thank God thay they are still alive and can see the sun one more day.

Am I wrong?
19:54 September 15, 2012 by DAVID T
Poor little girls - If you can't do the time don't do the crime
00:53 September 16, 2012 by Swissbank

Easy for u to say.. I show up in Sweden carrying my AK-47 Gun and no visa the immgaration officer did not like it... Only when I find out I am journalist they late me in, with big Sweden smile and hospitality
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