12 February 2013

Somalia: Government Detains Journalist Who Criticised 'Rape Case' Trial

Somali police have arrested a journalist who criticised the jailing of journalist Abdiasis Abdinuur Ibrahim and a woman he interviewed who said she was raped by security forces, AFP reported Tuesday (February 12th).

Daud Abdi Daud, who works for Radio Kulmiye, was arrested on February 5th, shortly after speaking out at the sentencing of Ibrahim and the alleged rape victim, Lul Ali Osman. He has since been transferred to a central prison in Mogadishu and held without charges.

Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon appealed for adherence to due process in the case of Daud's detention and the appeal of the verdict in Ibrahim's trial. "Journalists should feel that they are not alone," he posted on Twitter. "It is essential that they are able to work freely and effectively."

Human Rights Watch condemned Daud's detention, calling on the Somali authorities to immediately charge or release him.

"Detaining Daud Abdi without charge is sending a broader message to journalists to stay silent," said Leslie Lefkow, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Africa division. "The authorities should charge or release him, but they should not be shutting down free expression by jailing journalists and throwing away the key."

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has also condemned the detention of Daud, saying it is "outraged by the arbitrary arrests, threats and intimidations against the Somali journalists".

"We call for the Somali government to urgently release Daud and quash the conviction of [Ibrahim] and come up with mechanism that guarantees free and independent media," said NUSOJ secretary general Mohamed Ibrahim in a statement, according to Somalia's RBC Radio.

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