Swedes convicted in Ethiopia weigh appeal or clemency plea

Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:56pm GMT

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said on Wednesday the government was not ready to take such a step.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Sweden provided about 145 million crowns ($21 million) in aid to Ethiopia every year with a focus on measures to support democracy and human rights.

Ethiopia has also been a recipient of part of about 800 million crowns in humanitarian aid this year as a result of the drought in the Horn of Africa.

Bildt has been criticised in the past for his connection to a Swedish oil company which had activities in the Ogaden and Darfur and Swedish media have questioned whether he has a conflict of interest in the case.

Bildt was a board member of Lundin Oil and its successor Lundin Petroleum between 2000 and 2006.

Lundin was accused in a European Coalition on Oil in Sudan report of being complicit in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in that country between 1997 and 2003.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority launched a preliminary investigation into the allegations in 2010.

The two convicted journalists said they were investigating the activities of another company in the Lundin Group in the Ogaden which bought Lundin Petroleum's licenses in Ethiopia in 2009. ($1 = 6.8909 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Daniel Dickson and Simon Johnson in Stockholm, Aaron Maasho in Addis Ababa; Editing by Matthew Jones)

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