30 November 2013

Somalia: Harassment of Radio Shabelle Journalists Continues

Reporters Without Borders condemns leading journalist Abdiimalik Yusuf's arbitrary detention since 24 November, when security forces arrested him in the capital, Mogadishu.

The head of Shabelle Media Network (the owner of Radio Shabelle), Yusuf is being held in the same Mogadishu prison where Radio Shabelle reporter Mohamed Bashir has been held since 20 November.

"The prolonged detention of these two journalists and the broadcasting ban imposed on Radio Shabelle testify to a government determination to gag independent journalists," Reporters Without Borders said. "It is unacceptable that Yusuf and Bashir have not yet been brought before a judge."

"Their conditions in Mogadishu's main prison are also intolerable. We fear the worst for their safety because they are sharing cells with inmates who are members of the Islamist militia Al-Shabaab. We call on the authorities to free them at once and allow Radio Shabelle to resume broadcasting.

Yusuf and Bashir began a hunger strike on 27 November.

The two journalists with state-owned Radio Mogadishu who had been accused of rape in an interview conducted by Bashir were arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department on 24 November but were released within hours.

According to some sources, their release was a result of the interior minister's intervention.

Yusuf was arrested later the same day after criticizing the interior minister on the Shabelle website. By talking to the BBC Somali service's correspondent, he was alleged to have violated the conditions of his release on bail on 20 November.

Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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