”It is promising. This is a choice made by the two journalists, who have expressed the wish to proceed toward a pardon request, which is yet to be formulated, and we will of course support them in any possible way we can,” said Reinfeldt to news agency TT.
Reinfeldt’s comments come after Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi referred to the case of the jailed journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson on Wednesday during parliament question time.
”All trials are open, all suspects have been given legal representation…and we are considering a pardon, if the perpetrators were to admit their guilt and their mistakes,” Zenawi said at the time.
However, despite the Swedish PM’s optimism that the case will be resolved, the families of Schibbye and Persson are hesitant to celebrate yet.
And according to Norwegian expert on Ethiopia, professor Kjetil Tronvoll, Zenawi’s answering the particular question might have been arranged in advance, as it was asked by one of his fellow party members.
”This way Meles Zenawi can send a political signal to Sweden and the international community without being seen to be willingly volunteering this information,” Tronvoll told TT.
And a source in Addis Ababa told daily Svenska Dagbladet that a potential pardon process could take a long time.
“Civil servants are saying it could take up to a year after the pardon request has been filed, but this is such an unusual case that no one really knows,” the anonymous source told the paper.