1 August 2012

Somalia: Take Action to End the Killings of Media Workers

press release

The Somali authorities and the international community must ensure that those responsible for the killings of media workers are brought to justice, following the death of comedian Abdi Jeylani Malaq 'Marshale' in the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday, Amnesty International has said.

Abdi Jeylani Malaq 'Marshale', a popular comedian, was shot dead by two men armed with pistols as he entered his home, at about 5.30pm, in the Waberi district of Mogadishu. He was buried this morning in the capital.

Although the motives for his killing remains unclear, Abdi Jeylani Malaq 'Marshale' had produced and broadcast satirical programs for the Somali Radio Kulmiye and Universal TV, and had previously received death threats from al-Shabab, the Islamist armed group fighting against Somalia's Transitional Federal Government.

He is the eighth person working in the media to be killed in a targeted attack in Somalia since December 2011. Several journalists have also narrowly escaped assassination attempts this year.

"Amnesty International is shocked not only by the continuing pattern of targeted attacks against media workers, but also at the inaction of the Somali authorities to protect them and to investigate these attacks seriously," said Bénédicte Goderiaux, Somalia researcher at Amnesty International.

"Not a single person has been brought to justice for the killings of journalists in Somalia this year, nor in previous years. The Somali authorities must conduct thorough investigations into the killings, ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials and address the widespread impunity which exists in Somalia.

"The international community should step up efforts to help re-establish the rule of law and ensure accountability for the numerous crimes under international law committed in Somalia."

Meanwhile, a draft Provisional Constitution for Somalia was today approved by the National Constituent Assembly in Mogadishu - one of the steps agreed between the Somali transitional authorities and the international community to end the transitional period in the country.

Amnesty International urges the current and future Somali authorities to take all the steps necessary to make the right to life and the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press a reality - rights guaranteed in the Provisional Constitution.

"There are currently no mechanisms in place for media workers in Somalia to report threats and to get advice on improving their safety," said Goderiaux.

"Somali media workers, who continue to risk their lives, should be fully consulted by the Somali authorities and the international community over ways to improve their protection."

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