Ethiopia to release Swedish journalists
(eufrika) – Ahead of the festivities to mark the new year on September 11 in the orthodox calendar, the new ethiopian government has announced a mass amnesty for 1925 prisoners – among them the two swedish journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson.
Schibbye and Persson have been held in captivity since July 2011. Five months later they were sentenced to 11 years in prison for terrorist crimes. They had illegally crossed the Somali-Ethiopian border to report on the situation in the disputed region of Ogaden. At the time of their arrest they were accompanied by members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).
The case Schibbye / Persson has drawn international attention to the state of the freedom of the media in Ethiopia and overshadowed the relations between Sweden and Ethiopia.
The swedish support page “Free Johan and Martin” refers to Article 19 in the “UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights”:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Learn more on the political background in Ethiopia: “Analyse: Anti-Terrogesetzgebung und Ansätze autoritärer Herrschaft in Äthiopien” (german)
The “Free Johan and Martin” campaing at Facebook.com
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: www.un.org