News / Africa

    Ethiopia Pardons Two Swedish Journalists

    Ethiopia's Minister of Justice, unseen, reads aloud from a document appearing to be a petition for mercy by two Swedish journalists who have been imprisoned in Ethiopia, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.Ethiopia's Minister of Justice, unseen, reads aloud from a document appearing to be a petition for mercy by two Swedish journalists who have been imprisoned in Ethiopia, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
    x
    Ethiopia's Minister of Justice, unseen, reads aloud from a document appearing to be a petition for mercy by two Swedish journalists who have been imprisoned in Ethiopia, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
    Ethiopia's Minister of Justice, unseen, reads aloud from a document appearing to be a petition for mercy by two Swedish journalists who have been imprisoned in Ethiopia, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
    ADDIS ABABA — Two Swedish journalists imprisoned on terrorism charges in Ethiopia have received an official pardon.  The pardon is part of the yearly mass amnesty for prisoners.
     
    Journalist Martin Schibbey and photographer Johan Persson are among the 1,900 prisoners that were granted pardon this year.  The Swedes were convicted of supporting an illegal terrorist group and trespassing the Ethiopian border without documents.  Both were sentenced to 11 years in prison.
     
    The journalists requested a state pardon through a letter in which they admitted to collaboration with the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front - something they had denied during their trial.

    Ethiopian minister of Justice Berhan Hailu read out parts of the letter.
     
    “We both fully recognize the crimes against the Ethiopian constitution," Berhan said. "We both admit our wrongdoing in collaborating with members of the ONLF terrorist organization.  We allowed ourselves to be used and misled by the ONLF.  We full confess our crimes, and hereby ask your Excellency and the government and people of Ethiopia to accept our unconditional apology."
     
    Pardoning of prisoners is a yearly tradition that falls together with Ethiopia's New Year.  The Horn of Africa country celebrates New Year's day on September 11th because of their calendar.
     
    The pardoning of the two journalists was approved by late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who passed away in August.  

    International press-freedom and human-rights groups often accuse Ethiopia of suppressing dissident voices.  Berhan says the decision to pardon the two Swedish journalists has nothing to do with international pressure, but with the interests of the country.

    “The very objective of pardon is to maintain and keep the interest(s) of the public and the government," Berhan said. "If the interest(s) of the government and the public is maintained, we do not have any problem to do anything."  
     
    The journalists have not been released yet, according to the minister.  He says once they are freed, they will immediately go back to Sweden.

    “According to the law of the land, they have to go to their country as soon as possible, so within 24 hours," Berhan said.
     
    The two journalists were arrested in July 2011 when they were captured crossing the border illegally with ONLF members.  The Ogaden National Liberation Front is fighting for greater autonomy in Ethiopia's Somali federal state and is labeled a terrorist organization by the government.
     
    Ethiopia began peace negotiations with the Ogaden National Liberation Front last week in Kenya in an attempt to end the 28-year insurgency.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Truth-Teller from: Addis Ababa
    September 12, 2012 11:21 AM
    'Ethiopia's terror group (a.k.a. EPRDF) freed kidnapped Journalist': best fits the title of this article. This country's #1 in Africa: by jailing the most number of journalist - in one hand, and receiving the most foreign AID from U.S. and U.K - on the other ....

    Bravo! Westerners, you got what you paid for. You see?! ... you could have been better off if you simply stick to your "Moral Values" (Democracy, Human Rights, Individual Liberty ... and all the good stuff) and stay way from all that junk you call "national Interest"!! .... Your Moral Values will always defend your national interests, no dought!!

    by: Annie voir from: liberia west Africa
    September 11, 2012 1:07 PM
    This is a very good step for this goverment they will get a plus for that.

    by: FYI from: Harar
    September 10, 2012 9:22 PM
    Each time one ONLF leadership signs peace treaty, another group is financed by Eritrea to start terrorist activities...

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

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6588055.stm

    REUTERS NEWS: UN workers ambushed, killed, kidnapped

    http://af.reuters.com/article/ethiopiaNews/idAFLDE74D0CU20110514
    In Response

    by: Laamalooshe from: London
    September 11, 2012 6:28 AM
    Degrading human beings in such a way is the hall mark of the ruthless Ethiopian regime.If they can do this to two European journalists who have the full backing and protection of the EU and their country, imagine the poor stateless Somalis in Ogaden who are under their rule. This is a clear evidence that the Ethiopian government is violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that no one shall be subjected to degrading treatment.

    The Ethiopian government abuse of the Human rights of the Somali people in Ogaden is well documented. The American people fought against Britain and were not terrorists. the Ogaden people have a right to fight for their freedom against Ethiopia and they are not terrorists. Calling ONLF terrorist is tantamount to calling George Washington and the founders of USA terrorists!

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora