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Joint appeal demanding Shacab editor’s release

first_img Organisation Follow the news on Somalia SomaliaAfrica Radio reporter gunned on city street in central Somalia January 8, 2021 Find out more June 28, 2005TO: H.E. Abdullahi Yusuf AhmedPresident of the Transitional Federal Government of SomaliaH.E. Ali Mohamed GediPrime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government of SomaliaH.E. Adde Muse HirsiPresident of PuntlandYour Excellencies,We, the undersigned local and international press freedom and human rightsorganizations, call for the immediate release from prison of Abdi Farah Nur,editor of the weekly newspaper Shacab in Somalia’s self-declared autonomousregion of Puntland. Local journalists believe his detention is linked tocritical articles in Shacab about the Puntland leadership and Somalia’sTransitional Federal Government (TFG).Police forces in Garowe arrested Farah on June 19, after he resumedpublication of Shacab, which the Puntland government had ordered suspended.He was not brought before a court until June 23, in violation of his rightunder Puntland law to a hearing within 48 hours. When he appeared in court,the presiding judge questioned him on why he had resumed publication of thenewspaper, and the journalist replied that he had done nothing wrong,according to local sources. The court ordered his transfer to a top-securityprison for an undetermined period, pending investigations.Farah, who has not been charged with any crime, is being held incommunicado,according to his colleagues and friends. They say that a colleague who triedto visit him was assaulted and threatened by security forces guarding theprison.His arrest comes after a number of serious attacks on the staff and thepremises of Shacab. In April 2005, security forces attacked the newspaper’soffices, breaking the front gate and damaging the editor’s car and otherproperty, according to the newspaper’s editor and local press freedomgroups. The same month, Farah and reporter Abdirashid Qoransey weredetained, tried, and acquitted on charges of incitement and insulting thepresident. Those charges were based on a mid-April article suggesting thatcitizens with complaints about the Puntland government contact theirrepresentatives in Parliament, and a reader’s letter criticizingauthorities, according to Farah.On May 5, the Puntland government ordered Shacab “temporarily suspended” foran undetermined period for publishing unspecified articles that it claimedcould lead to unrest. A presidential decree issued after a cabinet meetingcited the government’s constitutional responsibility to uphold the unity ofPuntland. Fearing arrest at that time, Shacab decided to suspend publicationwhile seeking to contest the ban via legal representation and negotiation.However, all of those efforts failed, according to the newspaper’smanagement.The undersigned local and international groups believe that Farah is beingheld in violation of his right to work as a free and independent journalist,as guaranteed by Article 20 of the transitional federal charter of Somalia,which Puntland signed, and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of HumanRights. We call for our colleague’s immediate and unconditional release. Wealso call on Your Excellencies to ensure that journalists in Puntland andthe rest of Somalia can work freely, without fear of reprisal.Sincerely,Robert Menard,Secretary General,Reporters sans frontieres (RSF)Aidan White,General Secretary,International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)Ann Cooper,Executive Director,Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Ibrahim Nawar,President,Arab Press Freedom Watch (APFW) Ahmed Kiimiko,Chairman,Somali Human Rights Defenders Network (SOHRIDEN) Omar Faruk Osman,Secretary General,Somali Journalists Network (SOJON)RECOMMENDED ACTION:Send appeals to authorities:- noting that Farah is being held in violation of his right to work as afree and independent journalist, as guaranteed by Article 20 of thetransitional federal charter of Somalia, which Puntland signed, and Article19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights- calling for his immediate and unconditional release- calling on them to ensure that journalists in Puntland and the rest ofSomalia can work freely, without fear of reprisalAPPEALS TO:H.E. Abdullahi Yusuf AhmedPresident of the Transitional Federal Government of SomaliaH.E. Ali Mohamed GediPrime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government of SomaliaH.E. Adde Muse HirsiPresident of Puntland RSF and NUSOJ call for release of a journalist held in Somalia’s Puntland region Receive email alerts News June 28, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Joint appeal demanding Shacab editor’s release February 24, 2021 Find out morecenter_img News Help by sharing this information March 2, 2021 Find out more News RSF requests urgent adoption of moratorium on arrests of journalists to go further News SomaliaAfrica RSF_en last_img read more