IFJ Condemns Jailing of Journalist in Somalia

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

targeting journalists."

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.

"We urge

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