Somalian Journalists Condemn the Arrest of the "Most Jailed Journalist In Puntland Region"

Statement from the Somali Journalists Network (SOJON)

Somali Journalists are condemning the arrest of Abdishakur Yusuf Ali, editor in chief of War-Ogaal newspaper, in Bossaso of Puntland self-declared autonomous regions in the North-East of Somalia.

The detention came out when Abdishakur published an information telling that the Puntland minister of finance, Mr. Abdirahman Mohamud Farole, put up for sale an Aid for Puntland administration in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

According to reliable sources, Abdishakur was arrested the day before yesterday, 21st of April 2004, by clan militias loyal to the minister Farole after the Attorney General of Bari region, Mr. Ahmed Taaran, ordered his imprisonment at the central detention center in Bossaso. Sources believe that there were communications between the minister and the attorney general on this issue, although the minister is out of the country.

Abdishakur is in the prison without any legitimate action from the authority since his captivity. Independent sources say that Abdushakur Yusuf Ali was tortured during his process of capturing at his news office in Bossaso.

Abdishakur is the most imprisoned journalist in Puntland area since 2001. In February 2001, he was locked up for four days. On April 1, 2001, he finished thirty six days in jail. The administration ceased his newspaper many times after calling the newspaper “a Mogadishu associated newspaper” at the side of politics.

Furthermore, the journalists in the area stated that they were rejected to observe the situation of Mr. Abdishakur Yusuf Ali. The detentions of journalists have neither fair trial nor apparent legal action. Officials in Puntland administration adapted to say “I am not aware of what it is all about”.

As the situation of freedom of expression in Puntland is not improving in the first half of 2004, this is the fifth case disturbing the independent of press in Puntland. “Journalists in these regions are usually in detention illegally, held without legal proceedings and released with no good reason of detention” said Abukar Sheik Ahmed, SOJON Director General.

For further information please contact:

Omar Faruk Osman

Secretary General

Somali Journalists Network (SOJON)

E-mail: ; ;