The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliates, the National Union of Journalists of Great Britain and Ireland, and the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), today called on the British Foreign Secretary William Hague to ensure that the "independent inquiry" he called for into the murder of Hassan Osman Abdi, director of Shabelle Media Network, is truly independent.
"For many years now, no crime committed against a journalist in Somalia has been investigated, and no one convicted of carrying it out, or ordering it. We have no faith in the current Transitional Federal Government to lead an independent inquiry, as it has been involved in campaigns to persecute, threaten and delegitimise journalists, their union and its leadership, and media organisations. This is why we have been insisting on the full independence of an inquiry into the murder of Hassan Fantastic. We are grateful that William Hague supports this call," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.
Mr. Hague raised Hassan's case with President Sheikh Sharif during his visit to Mogadishu on 2 February, and pressed for an independent inquiry into the death of Hassan Osman Abdi.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary, said: "The scandal of impunity in Somalia and the failure of the government to bring the killers to account is a continuing injustice. Hassan Abdi, was one of ours - a committed secretary of the union's Banadir branch and a highly respected journalist. There have been too many deaths of journalists who were simply doing their job and this must stop."
Speaking at a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, on 3 February on his return from Mogadishu, Mr Hague said: "The case of Hassan Fantastic is particularly distressing to us. I want to take this opportunity to salute journalists in Somalia for the important and dangerous work that they do."
"We salute the support of Foreign Secretary William Hague which strengthens our call for an independent inquiry, honours our fight for the killers of Hassan Fantastic to be indicted and our fight against impunity," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. "This is a major political boost in the struggle for justice and accountability in our country".
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The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries