News Editor Abdiqani Abdillahi Ahmed (Asbaro) and Abdirisaq Goud Nur were arrested on 10 September 2019
News Editor Abdiqani Abdillahi Ahmed (Asbaro) and Abdirisaq Goud Nur (both pictured) were arrested on 10 September 2019. | Photo courtesy/Private.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, 23 September, 2019 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) welcomes the release of the three Hadhwanaag News journalists today on 23 September, 2019, after spending two weeks in Hargeisa jail.

News Editor Abdiqani Abdillahi Ahmed (Asbaro) and Abdirisaq Goud Nur were arrested on 10 September 2019, while Abdirahman Sheikh Hassan was arrested on the night of 19 September 2019.

The three journalists were released on a bail meaning that they can be re-arrested anytime, according to the journalists’ lawyer and colleagues who spoke to Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS).

Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) demands Somaliland authorities to withdraw the unfounded and politically motivated charges against Hadhwanaag News journalists in relation to Hadhwanaag News website’s reports about alleged corruption against Somaliland’s Central Bank Governor, Ali Ibrahim Jama (Baghdadi) who filed complaints against these journalists.

“Journalists and media stations should be free to report alleged corruption against the public officials freely and without fear and the Somaliland authorities should see this as constructive approach to correct their mistakes.” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said.

“We are also worried the order of blockage against Hadhwanaag News website inside Somaliland issued by Hargeisa-based Marodi Jeh Regional Court on 03 September, 2019, following a request from the police asking the internet service providers to block the news site,” adds Mr. Mumin.

Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) is concerned by the latest wave of violence against journalists in Somalilandwhere attacks on independent journalists and continued censorship against the free press has worsened. 17 journalists have been detained by Somaliland police since January this year.

On 18 September, a lawyer representing journalist Abdimalik Muse Oldon quit his role as defense lawyer citing intimidations and threats.  Journalist Oldon is waiting his appeal against three and half years jail sentence be heard. This followed the brief arrest of two broadcast journalists in Burao on 16 September as they were filming the city centre where Somaliland president Muse Bihi Abdi was on tour.