Amid deteriorating press freedom situation, journalists continue to face detention and harassment in Somaliland and Mogadishu

The Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) is concerned by the recent threats including judicial harassment and arbitrary detention intended to silence local journalists in Somaliland and in Mogadishu as we call authorities in Hargeisa to free two SomNews TV journalists currently in police custody.

On 26 January 2023, the Sanaag Regional Court sentenced Horyal24 TV reporter Abdirahman Mohamed Adani to nine months of imprisonment and 900,000 Sl.Sh. (USD 105) fine for covering a story that exposed a Somaliland military officer who closed down the only available mother and child health centre in Fiqifuliye, a rural village in the southern Sanaag region which reportedly led to the death of a young expectant mother in October last year. A second journalist Jabir Said Duale who covered the story for SomNews TV was also sentenced to a 600,000 Sl.Sh. (USD 70) fine. The pair were detained on 17 October 2022 but were freed on bail on the same day.

The court freed a third journalist Abdirisak Haji Ahmed who reports for the state-owned Somaliland National TV and was also held for the same case.

On Wednesday 25 January 2023, the Banadir Regional Court in Mogadishu postponed the fourth hearing of the press freedom case involving SJS secretary-general Abdalle Ahmed Mumin citing security reasons. The hearing, which was scheduled for Thursday 26 January, collided with the eighth anniversary of the attack on Abdalle’s life which he survived in 2015.

“We are very concerned about the use of judicial harassment, sham trials and arbitrary arrests to intimidate and silence journalists covering events of public interest, particularly in the recent cases in Erigabo, Hargeisa, and Mogadishu. These violations were committed by government officials who seek to cover up their wrongdoings,” SJS President Mohamed Ibrahim said, “We call for the immediate release of Mohamed Mohamud Koronto and Mahdi Siyad of SomNews TV who are still in the custody of Hargeisa police while we call Erigabo authorities to stop using the judiciary to intimidate journalists.”

“We also call for the Banadir Regional Court to dismiss the case against SJS secretary-general Abdalle Mumin because this case is a press freedom-related one and can not be a crime,” he added.


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