Two Swedish journalists, 29-year-old Johan Persson and 31-year-old Martin Schibbye, were arrested and imprisoned in Ethiopia while reporting on human rights issues according to The Guardian, a leading British newspaper.
The two reporters were sentenced to 11 years in prison, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times writes in his column. Kristof also reports Schibbye's wife saying: "Eleven years in an Ethiopian prison is equal to life, because you do not survive that long.”
Not only is this a tremendous breach of justice--imprisoning for over a decade the very people who are fighting for it-but this sets a dangerous standard for Ethiopia. Kristof makes the point in his blog that a country like this has no reliable accountability in regards to human rights except for journalists (whether Swedish or Ethiopian)--who expose hidden issues and force countries to address them.
But the Ethiopian goverment is attempting to silence the only real accountability they have. Amnesty International says that since March of 2011, at least 114 opposing party members and journalists have been arrested and "several journalists and opposition members have already fled the country as a result." And it's not just Swedish journalists that are being oppressed, it's Ethiopian journalists and opposition political party members as well!
Please sign this petition to ask Hillary Clinton and Catherine Ashton to call upon Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to pardon Persson and Schibbye-the imprisoned Swedish journalists who were seeking justice-and to stop Ethiopia from silencing their only real form of human rights accountability.
Please call upon Ethiopian Prime Minister Zenawi to pardon the two Swedish journalists currently in prison, and to stop oppressing Ethiopian journalists and opposition party members.
These journalists-and Ethiopian journalists-should be allowed to freely express their opinions, especially in regards to human rights. If Prime Minister Zenawi is leading Ethiopia wisely and honestly, he should have nothing to hide, and it only hurts his credibility to arrest and prosecute journalists and those of opposing opinions to his by over-reaching Ethiopian laws and pinning anything he can to them.
It is immoral, unjust, and unwise for Prime Minister Zenawi to continue imprisoning these journalists when they were only trying to protect international human rights, and we need to show him it will not be tolerated.
Please, not only for these journalists--but for the Ethiopian citizens whose rights they were trying to protect--tell Prime Minister Zenawi to pardon Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye so they can be released from the Ethiopian prison.