CPJ welcomes Ethiopian pardon of Swedish journalists

Nairobi, September 10, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists is relieved to learn the Ethiopian government has pardoned Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye today.

“We welcome the government’s decision and look forward to the prompt release of Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. “However, journalists should never be jailed for legitimate newsgathering.  Authorities ought to show tolerance for independent reporting and release the remaining six journalists imprisoned.”

Since 2011, the government of Ethiopia has convicted 11 independent journalists and bloggers under a sweeping antiterrorism law. Ethiopian authorities arrested Persson and Schibbye in July 2011 and sentenced them to 11 years in prison for allegedly supporting terrorism and entering the country illegally after the two reporters covered the activities of a separatist group in Ethiopia’s Ogaden region.