10 October 2017

Somalia: Somaliland Court Jails Journalist for 18 Months

Nairobi — The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the conviction and sentencing of Somaliland journalist Mohamed Adan Dirir during a one-day trial held without the journalist's lawyer.

A regional court in Hargeisa sentenced Mohamed on October 8 to 18 months in jail on charges of criminal defamation and publishing false news, and fined him one million Somaliland shillings, the journalist's lawyer, Mubarik Abdi Ismail, and Abdikarim Saed Salah, owner of Horseed News, a news website that Mohamed works for, told CPJ. Mubarik said that the journalist, who has been in custody since September 16, plans to appeal.

Mubarik told CPJ that the courts did not inform him or the journalist's family of the court date and they learned of the conviction only after Mohamed, who is an editor for the online news portal Horseed News and owner of the news website Saylactoday, was sentenced.

The charges are linked to articles Mohamed allegedly wrote on sites including Gabile Media, in which he accused a group of private schools in Hargeisa of misconduct and corruption, Guleid Ahmed Jama, chairman of the non-governmental organization Human Rights Center in Somaliland, told CPJ after the journalist's arrest.

"Mohamed Adan Dirir should never have been prosecuted in the first place and the manner in which this trial was carried out is unjust," said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal in New York. "Authorities should overturn the journalist's conviction on appeal and release Mohamed immediately."

Mohamed's trial had been scheduled for October 5, but the court postponed it because the judge had to attend a wedding, Guleid told CPJ.

The presiding judge in the case, Ahmed Dalmar Ismail, told CPJ that he informed Mohamed and the journalist's lawyer of the new court date. Ahmed, who is president of the Hargeisa Regional Court, said that he permitted Mohamed to represent himself on October 8, which is allowed under Somaliland law.

Somalia

Govt Says it Will Take Abdirahman Abdishakur to Court

The Somali government spoke about last night's raid on the opposition politician Mr Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame's… Read more »

Copyright © 2017 Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.