Swedish Journalists Imprisoned in Ethiopia Seek Pardon

Kjell Persson (R) and Christina Persson (C), parents of Swedish photographer Johan Persson and Swedish ambassador to Ethiopia Jens Odlander (R), stand outside the courtroom in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, December 21, 2011.January 10,2012 |VOA

Two Swedish journalists sentenced to prison in Ethiopia on terrorism charges have decided to seek clemency rather than file an appeal.  Ethiopia’s federal high court is currently hearing three other terrorism trials involving journalists and opposition politicians.

Journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson said Tuesday they would not appeal their 11-year sentence for entering Ethiopia illegally and aiding an outlawed insurgent group.

As the deadline for filing an appeal passed, the pair issued a brief statement indicating they would ask for a pardon. The statement was read by Persson’s father, Kjell Persson, by telephone from his home in Sweden.

“This is what they are saying in their own words. There is a tradition of grace and forgiveness in Ethiopia, and we chose to rely on this tradition,” he said.

Sweden’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Jens Odlander, said bilateral discussions are underway on the fate of the journalists.

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