Ethiopian court to rule in Swedish journalists’ case By The Africa Report
Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were jointly charged with two fighters from the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) of Somali decent.
The court closed its case on Wednesday after screening a nearly three hour long video clip purportedly showing the journalists alongside the rebels holding Kalashnikov assault rifles.
Prosecutors said the clip was obtained from a laptop belonging to the journalists.
It also shows the journalists being briefed about the Ethiopian map and how to cross the border with Somalia to meet ONLF leaders.
The two were allegedly escorted by around 22 gunmen across the Ethiopian border with Somalia.
Two of the ONLF fighters on trial with the journalists are also shown on the video telling the Ethiopian army that they were in a group of 24 fighters with the Swedes when they were caught.
We want you to show our suffering and to report this to the world
The other fighters were reportedly killed in the battle.
Persson and Schibbye who are denying the terrorism charges were allegedly scheduled to interview people displaced by the fighting in the Ogaden region, which is seeking autonomy from Ethiopia.
“We want you to show our suffering and to report this to the world so that the world knows how we are suffering in our land,” one of the rebels is shown saying on the video.
But defense lawyers argued that the video could not be submitted as evidence in court.
“We are waiting to see on Thursday what might happen. It is too late to tell you something on the issue,” said one of the defense lawyers.
Several witnesses have already testified in the case with some claiming the journalists wanted to train ONLF fighters.
ONLF is a classified terrorist organisation according to the Ethiopian government.
If the court rules that the video can be used as evidence the journalists will be put to their defence
Persson and Martin Schibbye were arrested in July on the border with Somalia.