Ethiopia pardons two jailed Swedish journalists: government source

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 10, 2012 5:53 AM
Ethiopia pardons two jailed Swedish journalists: government source

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia has pardoned two Swedish journalists jailed for assisting an outlawed rebel group and the pair will be released soon, a government source said on Monday.

Reporter Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson were arrested In July, 2011, after entering the country from neighboring Somalia with fighters from the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebel group.

"Some 1,900 prisoners have been pardoned and are scheduled to be released in the coming days. The Swedish journalists are part of the group," the source told Reuters.

A news conference announcing the pardon was scheduled for 1400 GMT, the source added.

The government source said the pardon was approved before the death of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who died on August 20 after a long illness.

Addis Ababa often grants mass pardons and announces the decisions ahead of major holidays, in particular the Ethiopian New Year which is celebrated on September 11.

(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Jon Boyle)