Two Swedish reporters were sentenced to 11 years of prison for supporting terrorism. A court in Ethiopia on Tuesday sentenced two Swedish journalists to 11 years in prison on charges of supporting terrorism after the two illegally entered the country with an ethnic Somali rebel group in a case that has been criticized by media rights groups.
Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were the two Swedish journalists who supported terrorism. Judge Shemsu Sirgaga ruled that the two freelance journalists — Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye — will serve “rigorous imprisonment” following their convictions last week.Ethiopian troops had captured Persson and Schibbye six months ago during a clash with rebels in eastern Ethiopia’s restive Somali region, a no-go area for reporters. Ethiopia considers the rebel group a terrorist organization, and it is very difficult for journalists to gain access to the region. Rights groups say that is so abuses there are not exposed.
The international community has closely followed the terror trial against the Swedes. Rights groups and diplomats say Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism proclamation restricts freedom of expression and is used as a tool to crack down on dissent.