Thursday May 15th, 2014

Abdullahi Hussein awarded with the freedom of speech and freedom of press prize


“With his life at stake he smuggled out files that reveals the soul of the dictatorship. He showed the world that the courage of one man could make a change.” This is the motivation to why Abdullahi Hussein was awarded the Swedish Publicistklubben’s prize of freedom of speech and freedom of press to the memory of Anna Politkovskaja 2014.

– I’m very glad to receive this prize but what makes me even gladder is that this will lead to more people becoming aware of the situation in Ogaden, says Abdullahi Hussein.

Abdullahi Hussein was a high ranked official in Ethiopia and worked as a advisor to Ogaden’s president and chief of television which meant that he had access to every recorded tape in the region. When he discovered that his employer committed widespread abuses and crimes towards the human rights, he secretly began to copy files as proof of the abuses. After three years he fled the country to spread the information to the rest of the world. For instance the clips shows how leading politicians and militaries are involved with torture and raped. Among the material he also brought clips showing how the Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were treated when they were arrested in the region in the summer of 2011.

– It is important that the information spreads because what’s going on in Ogaden is a crime against the human rights and the regime keeps it secret. If the world knows and the international community investigates it, there’s hope for change, says Abdullahi Hussein.

The clips that Abdullahi Hussein smuggle out from Ethiopia was used in the documentary The Essence of war produced by Laika Film & Television and sent in SVT 14th of October 2013. The material has also been given to the Swedish National Criminal Investigation Department of war crimes commission and is currently investigated in the international community where prosecutor Krister Peterson conducts an investigation.

Previous years the Swedish Publicistklubb has given out prizes to Martin Schibbye, Johan Persson, Dawit Isaak och Elin Jönsson. The prize is awarded in memory of Anna Politkovskaja who was a Russian journalist who reported about abuse and torture during the war in Chechnya without permission from the Russian government. She was murdered in the elevator outside her home 2006.