MOGADISHU, Somalia, 18 September, 2019 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns the latest wave of violence against journalists in Somaliland while calls for the Hargeisa-based Marodi Jeh Appeals Court to quash three and half years jail term sentenced on journalist Abdimalik Muse Oldon on 08 July, 2019 by the Marodi Jeh regional Court in Hargeisa.
On Wednesday 18 September, when journalist Oldon appeared before the judges at the Appeals Court, hislawyer Mubarik Abdi Ismail announced to have quit his role as Oldon’s defense lawyer citing intimidations and threats. In a TV interview, lawyer Mubarik also mentioned frustrations against efforts to prevent miscarriage of justice.
“I have decided to quit my job as the lawyer for journalist Abdimalik Muse Oldon due to threats and intimidations I have been facing, and I have informed my client today. I don’t have any confidence that Oldon will get fair trail,” lawyer Mubarik said.
During today’s (Wednesday) court session, the Appeals Court did not make any judgment as judges stated that they needed time to review the grounds of the appeals against the three and half years jail term.
Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) is outraged by the ongoing threats against the lawyers representing Oldon and the disrespect of the laws.
Meanwhile, Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) welcomes the release of Horyaal24 TV Chairman Mohamed Osman Mire (Sayid) on Monday 16 September, on bail, two colleagues told Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS). Sayid was arrested on 07 September, a day after the police shut down Horyaal24 TV studio in Hargeisa. The TV’s Somaliland office remains closed but is operational from its backed up studios in Mogadishu and London.
We also call for the immediate release of two Hadhwanaag News journalists, editor Abdiqani Abdillahi Ahmed (Asbaro) and Abdirisaq Goud Nur who were arrested on 12 September remain in jail. Journalists and colleagues told Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) that the police used live ammunition during editor Abdiqani’s arrest. The Regional Marodi Jeh Court denied a request of release on bail for the two journalists when they appeared before the Court on Monday.
In another development, two broadcast journalists, Nuh Mohamed Abdi and Shafi’i Abdi Jama were briefly detained in Buroa in Togdher region on Monday as they were filming the city centre where Somaliland president Muse Bihi Abdi was on tour.
“We condemn all sorts of attacks, threats, intimidations against the journalists in Somaliland and call for the Somaliland authorities to respect the media freedoms and ensure safety of the journalists,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said “SJS also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all detained journalists in Somaliland and urge the Marodi Jeh Appeals Court to quash journalist Oldon’s sentence.”
The attacks on independent journalists and continued censorship against the free press have worsened in Somaliland. 17 journalists have been detained by Somaliland police since January this year.