“Tell the world what you have seen”

The statement made by Martin Schibbye in the  video above was made at the day that he and Johan Persson arrived to Sweden after being released from the Kality prison. English captions are available.

On the eve of June 28th 2011, we put everything at stake by illegally crossing the border from Somalia into Ethiopia. After months of research, planning and failed attempts, we were finally on our way to report on how the ruthless hunt for oil effected the population of the isolated and conflict-ridden Ogaden region. Five days later we lay wounded in the desert sand, shot and captured by the Ethiopian army. When our initial reportage died, another story began. A story about lawlessness, propaganda and global politics. After a Kafkaesque trial we were sentenced to eleven years in prison for terrorism. And we were far from alone. Our cellmates were journalists, writers and politicians persecuted for not bowing down to dictatorship. Our reportage about oil was transformed into a story about ink, and our daily lives turned into a fight for survival inside the notorious Kality prison in Addis Ababa. Exposed to deadly diseases, daily beatings and fierce repression – deprived of our shoelaces and our freedom of speech – we fought to preserve the most valuable thing of all: the freedom to determine who you are and what you believe.

This is when we promised to help other journalists in the same situation. This is when the Kality foundation was created.

Martin and Johan

 

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