MOGADISHU, Somalia 19 April, 2022 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and the Somali Media Association (SOMA) welcome the release of 12 journalists from Hargeisa police detention by the Marodi-Jeh Regional Court on Tuesday 19 April.
We demand the immediate freedom of the three remaining journalists currently in the police detention. Among those behind bars is MMTV director, Mohamed Abdi Ilig, who has been feeling unwell since Wednesday.
After their freedom, the 12 journalists – Hassan Suleiman Harun Galaydh (BBC Somali), Ahmed Nur Samrawi (Bulsho TV), Ahmed Mohamud Yusuf (SAAB TV), Hussein Ahmed Abees (SomNews TV), Aidarus Mohamed Ahmed (Goobjoog TV), Mohamed Jamal Jirde (MMTV), Ahmed Said Hassan (Shimali) (Horn Cable TV), Abdifatah Mohamud Ismail (Horn Cable TV), Ayanle Abdi Buni (Horn Cable TV), Khalid Mahad Aleli (Horn Cable TV), Mohamed Suldan Ahmed (Horn Cable TV) Mustafe Mohamed Abdi (Horn Cable TV) – spoke to the media and described the inhumane condition they were held during the first three days of their detention. They were among 15 reporters detained on Wednesday 13 April as they were covering a shooting incident at the Hargeisa central prison.
“We are free today but we are sad that three colleagues remain detained. We want their immediate freedom,” BBC Somali reporter, Hassan Galaydh said upon his release.
Three journalists: Mohamed Abdi Ilig (MM TV), Abdirahman Ali Khalif (Gobonimo TV) and Abdijabar Mohamed Hussein (Horn Cable TV) remain behind bars. Their continued detention was not justified. We call Somaliland authorities to refrain from retaliation charges against the three remaining journalists.
“We welcome the unconditional freedom of the 12 journalists today from Hargeisa police detention. We are however concerned by the continued detention of three remaining journalists – Mohamed Abdi Ilig (MM TV), Abdirahman Ali Khalif (Gobonimo TV) and Abdijabar Mohamed Hussein (Horn Cable TV). The court did not justify the detention of these three journalists which is outrageous,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary-General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said “We are very worried by the reports that authorities are attempting to bring up trumped up charges against the three remaining journalists. We call Somaliland authorities to free the three journalists immediately and stop the retaliation punishment against these three reporters for conducting their journalistic duty.”
“SOMA and SJS are thrilled to report the freedom of 12 colleagues detained in Hargeisa this morning. They should not have been arrested in the first place. Journalism is not a crime and no journalist should be arrested for conducting his/her journalism,” Mohamed Osman Makaran, the Secretary-General of Somali Media Association (SOMA) said “We call Somaliland authorities to give other detained journalists their freedom without delay.”
SJS and SOMA also call Somaliland authorities to unconditionally free freelance journalist Abdisalan Ahmed Awad who is held in detention since 3 April 2022.
SJS and SOMA voice their grave concern over the deterioration of press freedom in Somaliland with intimidation, arbitrary detention and other threats against journalists has risen to unprecedented level since the start of 2022.