Swedish Photographer, Reporter branded “terrorists” in Ethiopian Show Trial
Breaking: An Ethiopian court has declared Swedish photojournalist Johan Persson and reporter Martin Schibbye guilty of supporting terrorism and entering the country illegally, according to an AFP report.
“Guilty as charged, period, unanimous vote,” the judge declared, according to the AFP story. The judge added that just because Persson and Schibbye are journalists doesn’t mean they didn’t engage in “criminal acts.”
“They have not been able to prove that they did not support terrorism,” the judge reportedly said.
Prosecutors are calling for 18-year jail terms, and sentencing is scheduled for December 27. (Editor’s note: See update, below.)
Persson and Schibye were arrested last July in the Ogaden region of the country. Ethiopian troops are currently fighting rebels in the oil-rich region and the government has barred journalists from the area. Schibbye and Persson, who is represented by the Swedish photo agency Kontinent, gained access to Ogaden with the help of a group of rebels that the Ethiopian government classifies as terrorists. Persson and Schibbye admitted at trial they had entered the country illegally, but vehemently denied they were aiding the rebels.
More on this disturbing developing story here…