The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today
condemned the ruling of a court in the town of Bossaso, northern Somalia,
sentencing Faysal Mohamed Hassan, a reporter of a leading Somali news website,
Hiraan Online (HOL), to one year jail term for allegedly "jeopardising security of Puntland and
publishing false news".
According to the National Union of Somali
Journalists (NUSOJ), an IFJ affiliate, Hassan was arrested on Wednesday morning
by Puntland police at HOL's office in Bossasso. The police reportedly had come
to arrest the journalist on Tuesday when they visited his office and waited for
him at least three hours at his apartment.
"We are outraged by the court's harsh ruling against
the journalist and call for its reversal," said Beth Costa, IFJ General
Secretary. "The jailing order continues the escalation of a series of violations
of media rights in Somalia which indicates a pattern of intimidation and harassment
NUSOJ also condemned the court
case against Hassan, accusing the authorities of attempting to silence the
media. The charges against the journalist are linked to the article he
published on his website about the killing of two soldiers in the Bari region.
The authorities in Puntland claim the report was false.
the Puntland authorities to change course and respect journalists' rights and
freedoms," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. "The action taken
against Hassan is a real threat to media freedom in Somalia."
The IFJ has also expressed
concerns over the reports that the authorities in Puntland are considering deporting
Hassan to Ethiopia because of his alleged connections with clans in the Ogaden
province, according to a statement published on NUSOJ website.
"We urge the authorities not to
proceed with these alleged plans," added Beth. "Such action would breach Hassan's
human right not be denied entry into his own country, as provided by the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Somalia is a party."
For more information, please
contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 131 countries