The Ogaden National Liberation Front welcomes the release of Swedish journalists, Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson, who for the past 14 months have suffered illegal imprisonment in Ethiopiadue to their heroic activities as fact finding journalists. The two journalists were attacked and later detained on July 1st 2011 after crossing into the Ogaden (according to the Ethiopian verdict), in order to shed light on the ongoing-armed struggle and human rights violations committed by Ethiopian forces and government-sponsored militias against the civilian population in Ogaden.

Shortly after their arrest Schibbye and Persson were tried under the country’s new anti-terrorism law and sentenced to 11 years in prison, without considering their journalistic mission.

The harsh sentencing of the two journalists was designed to send “stay away” message to the media and to dissuade them from entering the Ogaden to report on the Ethiopian army’s scorched-earth campaign of terror and repression.

Nevertheless, ONLF is relieved that Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson are finally freed from imprisonment in Ethiopia and have been reunited with their families and loved ones. The people of Ogaden are grateful for their daring attempt to expose the heinous genocidal acts committed against our people.

While we welcome the release of Mr. Schibbye and Mr. Persson, it is imperative to note that thousands of innocent civilians, journalists and human rights activists, still remain illegally imprisoned in Ethiopia. We appeal to the international community to pressure the Ethiopia regime to release them.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front encourages the media to follow Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson’s example and come to the Ogaden to witness firsthand and report the human rights abuses perpetrated against the innocent civilian population by the Ethiopian army in Ogaden.


ONLF Information Bureau.



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