Thursday, October 18, 2012

Swedish journalists tell of time in Ethiopia jail

(Oct 18, 2012, BBC)--Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye have been speaking to the BBC about their time in prison in Ethiopia. They were recently freed after serving more than 400 days of an 11-year sentence. The pair were found guilty of entering the country illegally and supporting a rebel group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).

Their lengthy jail terms put the treatment of journalists in Ethiopia under the international spotlight. Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson were captured along with ONLF rebels in June 2011.

They maintained that they were only doing their jobs, and human rights group Amnesty International said the journalists had been prosecuted for doing "legitimate work". But Ethiopian government spokesman Bereket Simon previously defended the decision to jail the pair, saying the journalists were caught "red handed" co-operating with "terrorist organisations".

Former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi reportedly pardoned the journalists before his death in August, leading to their release. Read more from BBC »

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