The International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) today has vigorously denounced the one-year jail term to a
freelance journalist in Somalia.
According to the National Union of Somali
Journalists (NUSOJ), an IFJ affiliate, the journalist Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim
aka Koronto, 25, was sentenced on February 5 by a court in Banadir Region (Mogadishu), to one year
in prison for offending “reputation of national institution”, spreading “false
news” and “paying money to get false rape story”.
“We called on authorities in Somalia
to immediately quash the conviction as the trial is unfair. We encourage the
defense to appeal the ruling. The IFJ is concerned about the situation of
journalists and media practitioners in Somalia. The new authorities are highly
expected to take effective action to promote press freedom and promote the
security of journalists,” said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director.
NUSOJ said that after sentencing,
the journalist Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim was immediately transferred to central
prison in Mogadishu. He was arrested on 10 January after that of Mrs. Lul Ali
Osman, 27, a woman who is alleged rape victim by security forces. She
spoke to the journalist after her husband allegedly brought the journalist to
her for an interview which has never been published. She was also sentenced to
one year in prison.
IFJ joins NUSOJ to denounce the fact
that the journalist Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim was detained beyond legal limit
without charges and without legal representations for days. NUSOJ stated that
the journalist’s mobile phone was confiscated and his home searched. His
trial started on 2 February but was adjourned. NUSOJ officials attending the
trial said there were a lot of irregularities during the investigation, there
were intimidations and constant violation of defense rights.
"Imprisoning a journalist
simply for doing his job challenges media freedom and makes a mockery of the
legal process in Somalia," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.
"The Somali government should rectify this miscarriage of justice
NUSOJ also raised concern of
prosecuting the journalist under Somali penal code. “Charging a
journalist under penal code for doing his work means criminalizing journalistic
work. We are against trying a journalist under penal code,” said NUSOJ in a
letter to the Minister of Interior.
and false news remain criminal offenses under Somalia’s penal code. “The Somali
government should urgently amend the Penal Code and decriminalize libel in
order to allow journalists to exercise their profession,” Baglo added.
For more information contact the IFJ on +221 33
867 95 86/87
IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries