Somalia: journalist arrested and jailed

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Somali journalist Abdulkadir Barre Moallim was jailed for 3 months on 29 October after being arrested and convicted of organising an unlawful meeting. The IFJ joined its affiliate the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in condemning the sentence and called on the authorities to release him.

A court in Southwest State condemned freelance journalist Abdulkadir Barre Moallim to a 3-month jail sentence and a 300USD fine. He was arrested on 25 September and has been held in prison in Baidoa since then.

According to NUSOJ, the accusation was that he covered a press conference given by local elders whohad reportedly condemned a move to block former Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and his delegation of Himilo Qaran Political Party from traveling to Kismayo, Jubbaland. The court stated that the journalist and three other convicted persons organised an “unlawful” meeting in Baidoa. Moallim and the three other defendants were all charged with violating an article refering to political conspiracy to commit crime.

In Somalia, attacks on journalists have increased. In September, several journalists in Baidoa were threatened and intimidated. Three other journalists were interviewed by security forces after Moallim’s arrest.

Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General, said: “The sham verdict against Abdulkadir Barre Moallim confirms that the main purpose of his arrest and detention has been to criminalise the legitimate work of a journalist. Our colleague is a victim of a miscarriage of justice because he was convicted and punished for a crime that he did not commit. And handing out a guilty verdict in this case just makes a mockery of Abdulkadir’s right to a fair trial, his right to justice, and the justice system of South West State.

IFJ

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