Human Rights Centre strongly condemns the detention and prosecution of two female singers who are in Hargeisa Central Police Station.
The government of Somaliland arrested Hamda Yousuf Ibrahim and Barwaaqo Mohamed Hashi in April after the two singers performed shows in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
They are charged with anti-national activity of a citizen abroad (article 212 of the Penal Code) and corruption of a citizen by foreigners (article 189).
Both charges are related to the visit and performing of music concert in Mogadishu.
It is not the first time musicians are arrested in Somaliland for performing in Somalia.
Abdiwahaab Osman Omar, an activist based in Borama, is also in prison for a Facebook post critical to the government. He is not charged with any crime.
“We are startled by the government’s intolerance towards musicians and restrictions imposed on musicians who perform art across the region of Horn of Africa where many speak the Somali language. The charges are merely persecution with no legal basis,” says Yassmin Omar Haji Mohamoud, the chairperson of the Human Rights Centre.
“We call on the government to respect the constitution and international human rights conventions,” she added.
Human Rights Centre is concerned with the criminalization of arts. We call on the government to drop the charges and release the two singers and activist Abdiwahaab.