Ethiopia Charges Swedish Journalists With Terrorism

Posted September 7th, 2011 at 6:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Ethiopia has charged two Swedish journalists with terrorism following their arrest in July.

Ethiopian officials say Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were taken before a judge in Addis Ababa this week and charged under a newly-enacted anti-terrorism law.

The two were captured by Ethiopian troops in the volatile Ogaden region where rebels are fighting government troops.

Ethiopia accuses the journalists of aiding rebels from the Ogaden National Liberation Front.

Sweden's foreign ministry says the journalists were in the region to do reporting. The two freelance journalists were reportedly travelling with the rebels for a story on the drought and malnutrition crisis in parts of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia sharply restricts journalists and humanitarian aid workers access to the Ogaden region, which borders Somalia.

The ONLF has been fighting for regional independence from Ethiopia since 1984. The rebels accuse Ethiopia of atrocities against the region's largely ethnic Somali population.

Human-rights and aid groups have accused both the ONLF and pro-government forces with numerous rights violations during the conflict, charges both sides have denied.