Trial in Ethiopia

Trial against Swedish journalists postponed until Thurs

After an hour of negotiations in Amharic, the trial against two Swedish journalists in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa today was postponed until Thursday. The trial was supposed to start this morning at 7:30 a.m. The trial was postponed because two Somali also standing trial alongside the Swedes do not have legal representation, Swedish news agency TT reports.

Johan Persson, a freelance photographer, and Martin Schibbye, a freelance reporter, were arrested this summer in the conflict-ridden Ogaden province in Ehtiopia, on suspicions of entering the country illegally and terrorist activities.  

Schibbye and Persson looked calm and collected in the courthouse this morning, writes TT.

Negotiations on Thursday will be a repeat of today's. The procedures must be repreated when the other two defendants have legal representation.

A throng of Swedish journalists waited outside the federal court – Lideta - in Ethiopia’s capitol Addis Ababa today in anticipation of a 7:30 a.m. start of the trial against the two Swedish journalists.

The trial was first delayed, however, while a larger courtroom was found to accommodate the many journalists covering the trial.

There were about 100 people in the courtroom representing some 16 countries. There were as many as 10 ambassadors, TT writes.

The American ambassador told Swedish Radio News that the United States is following the case closely as there is concern for potential human rights violations.