IFJ Calls for Release of Journalists Detained in Somalia

Media Release
17 January 2008

IFJ Calls for Release of Journalists Detained in Somalia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called for the release of three journalists who have been arrested in the last three weeks and held without charges after two other journalists who had also been detained by Somali authorities were freed in the last 24 hours.

“The Somali authorities should put an end to these arrests whose only point is to intimidate and control the media,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. “We call on the regional authorities and the Transitional Federal Government to charge our colleagues or release them immediately.”

BBC stringer Ayanle Hussien Abdi was released in the Hiran region in Central Somalia this morning. He had been detained for allegedly biased report on the security situation there. Freelance journalist Awale Jama Salad was released on bail yesterday evening after 25 days in jail, the National Union of Somali Journalists said.

Three journalists are being detained by government forces in the capital, Mogadishu, for unknown reason. Private radio station Somaliweyn Radio’s director Abdirahman Mohamed Hudeyfi and Bashir Mohammed Abdulkadir, a journalist for the station, were arrested on January 13. Mohammed Shidane Daban, a journalist working with Banadir Radio, was arrested on January 4 at Mogadishu’s airport. No charges have been brought against them.

Released journalist Salad was arrested on 23 December in Puntland by local authorities over suspicion of links with the kidnappers who abducted French journalist Gwen Le Gouil a few weeks ago. Salad published photos of Le Gouil with his captors and will appear before a court on Sunday.

Abdi was arrested on January 15 in Beledweyne, a town in the Hiran region, on the evening of January 15 by forces under the command of Governor Yusuf Ahmed « Dabaged » Hagar. According to local sources, the authorities accused Abdi of sending out biased reports on the security situation in the region but he was released without charges after some negotiations.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 33 842 01 43
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries

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