Ethiopia drops Swedish journalist terror charges

Terrorism charges against two Swedish journalists have been dropped by an Ethiopian court due to a lack of evidence.

Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson, who were arrested in July, still face charges of entering Ethiopia illegally and supporting the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), however.

The pair, who admit the first charge, could face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty of helping the rebel faction. Video footage of them travelling through the Ogaden region holding guns was shown to the court in the capital Addis Ababa earlier in the week.

“Though the prosecutors have provided witnesses and evidence to support their accusation, the court does not believe it is substantial enough to prove that the journalists were involved in carrying out a terror attack,” Reuters news agency quoted the Judge Shemsu Sirgaga as saying.

Rebels from the Somali-speaking minority in Ethiopia have been fighting against the government since the 1970s. Although one faction of ONLF signed a peace deal last year, another continues its crusade.

Journalists are not allowed to travel in the region without permission from the government, which human rights groups have accused of widespread atrocities. The two Swedes will remain in jail until their trial resumes on 6th December.

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