Foreign ministry criticized in case of jailed Swedish doctor

The Swedish doctor Fikru Maru has been held in an Ethiopian jail for 21 months with neither a conviction nor an individual trial, according to Swedish Radio News.

Sweden's foreign ministry confirmed that Sweden confronted Ethiopian representatives about the case during the African Union summit last week, but the doctor's daughter, Emy Maru, feels the ministry is not doing enough and calls for more involvement on their part. 

She believes the ministry has a good chance to press for justice. 

"The legal process is breaking Ethiopian laws, international laws, and not least, violating human rights," says Emy Maru to Swedish Radio News.

Her father is in the Kality jail outside of Addis Ababa, the same jail where two Swedish journalists, Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye, were held for over a year before being released in September 2012.

With support from Swedfund, the Swedish state's development financier, Fikru Maru had been running a hospital in the Ethiopian capital since 2006, but in connection with a visit to the hospital in 2010, he was apprehended at the airport, suspected of trying to smuggle hospital supplies into the country.

The prosecution was closed, but in the spring of 2013, the case was rekindled. According to Fikru Maru's Swedish lawyer, Hans Bagner, the case is being used as a pawn in an international power struggle.

In a letter, the Swedish foreign ministry writes that they are glad that a date for the trial has been set for March 9, but neither Bagner nor Emy Maru are very hopeful that the trial will actually take place. Emy Maru says the trial was already planned to begin 9 July, and is already half a year late.