MOGADISHU, Somalia 21 October 2022 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), Somali Media Association (SOMA), and Somali Mechanism for Safety of Journalists (SMSJ) condemn the continued detention of Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate and Somali Mechanism for Safety of Journalists (SMSJ), who is in government custody for the 10th night. The groups call for the Somali government to unconditionally release him and drop the malicious and trumped-up charges.
On October 11, 2022 Somalia’s intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) unlawfully and arbitrarily arrested Abdalle Ahmed Mumin at Aden Adde International airport in Mogadishu, while traveling to Nairobi. He was held against his will at the NISA detention, denying access to his lawyers and family members. On 13 October 2022, NISA transferred him to the CID, then the CID took him to court twice and accusing him of: Article 219 – Bringing the Nation or the State into contempt, Article 321- Instigation to disobey the laws and Article 505 – non-observance of orders of the authorities – of the Somali penal code. The court granted him bail on October 16, 2022and said his case will be heard within 45 days. On 18 October, 2022, Abdalle was re-arrested by NISA and CID officers at the airport while traveling to Nairobi for medical reasons. He was taken and detained at the CID. The Benadir regional court revoked his bail on 19 October and ordered the CID to remand him.
Abdalle developed severe kidney pain and severe allergies that affected his eyes while in detention.
On October 12, 2022 Somalia’s ministry of information issued a misleading press statement claiming that Abdalle Ahmed Mumin is being held on security related charges. A police charge sheet dated on 16 October stated that Abdalle was arrested without court approval “For publicly disobeying government directive and holding a press conference that criticized the directive.” In the charge sheet, “Abdalle insisted that he was right about expressing their concern about the impact the government’s directive could have the independent media”.
This shows a clear contradiction from what the ministry of information said in its press release and shows Abdalle was solely targeted for his media advocacy work.
Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), Somali Media Association (SOMA and Somali Mechanism for Safety of Journalists (SMSJ) condemn Somalia’s ministry of information’s wicked intentions in curtailing the press freedom through intimidation, threats and arbitrary arrests especially the group strongly condemn the deputy minister of Information Abdirahman Yusuf Al-Adaala who is the lead oppressor of the press freedom and the behind persecution of Abdalle Ahmed Mumin. The group urged the deputy minister of information to desist from Abdalle’s persecution.
“We are aware that deputy minister of information Abdirahman Yusuf Al-Adaala and officials from Villa Somalia are behind the persecution against Abdalle, they will be solely held responsible. We call on Somalia’s international partners to impose targeted sanctions against him and other individuals who are violating the rights of journalists and media freedoms in the country.” Mohamed Ibrahim, President of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said,
“Persecuting Abdalle for only raising his concerns about the government directive shows the government’s cruel intentions to muscle the press freedom and freedom of expression that might finally lead a complete media black out, if the situation is not properly intervened by the Somalia’s International partners”. Mr. Ibrahim added.
The group is also appalled by the government’s new tactics of singling out union leaders and press freedom advocates that not only undermines the media freedoms, but also sends a frightening message to the ordinary journalists. Such persecution is a direct violation to the federal constitution, the regional and the international treaties on freedom of expression, which Somalia is a member of and condemns these cruel acts.
“We are appalled by these new tactics by Ministry of information and singling out policy aiming to threaten and intimidate the independent media and the journalists and call for the government to respect the freedom of expression which has been outlined in the federal constitution and should be given the appropriate protection.” Mohamed Osman Makaraan, Secretary general of Somali Media Association (SOMA) said. (END)