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Blind Broadcast Journalist released, Two Radio Journalists in Jail, Radio Shabelle remains Closed

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) welcomes the release of blind radio Journalist and urges the government to release the remaining journalists detained in Mogadishu and Berbera and allow the radio station to resume operations, the latest in a string of attacks against the press in Somalia in 2015.

Somali Police released Abdifatah Hassan Ahmed, radio’s Goobjoog’s reporter at the parliament on Monday 6 April, 2015. Abdifatah Hassan is the only blind but active among the reporters in Mogadishu was detained from his home by the police on 31 March 2015 and held at the CID since then. The police did not specify the reasons behind his detention.

“I have been detained by members of the CID and the police station in Wadajir and I have got my freedom back.” Abdifatah Hassan Ahmed told NUSOJ after his release, “I am healthy and was treated fairly.”

Meanwhile, the Somali National Security and Intelligence Agency (NISA) raided the premises of the Shabelle radio on April 3, 2015 and arrested its director Mohamed Muse and its editor Ahmed Abdi Hassan, after the radio station aired a recorded audio message of l-Shabab’s spokesperson on the Garisa attack in Kenya.

The government’s regional National Security and Intelligence office imposed a verbal order on September 1, 2014, which bans the original quote of the Shabab – which means that the stories of Al-Shabab can be reported but their original quote can not be broadcast live.

On September 4, NISA Shutdown Radio SIMBA and Kulmiye radio and detained , three of SIMBA radio journalists and the director of Radio Kulmiye, Osman Abdullahi Guure and the director of the state run radio Mogadishu Abdirahim Isse Addow, while briefly shutting down Kulmiye radio, after the radio stations aired Shabab spokesperson’s original quote rebroadcast from VOA Somali service.

Radio Shabelle and SKY FM resumed its operation on 15 March 2015, after the regional court sentenced with fines and jail terms on March 1, 2015, Somali government shut down on a raid on 15 August 2014 for accusing incitement.

While welcoming the release of our colleague from CID detention center, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the arbitrary arrests and the media raids in the strongest terms possible and calls for unconditional release of the journalists in jail and allow the radio stations to resume operations.

“We are delighted to hear the release of our colleague, Abdifatah Hassan Ahmed after spending 7 days in CID custody.” Mohamed Ibrahim, Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said, “Again, we are disturbed by the violent raids and shutdowns against the independent media in Somalia and urge the Somali authorities to ensure the press freedom as a vital to democratic societies.”

“The Radio Shabelle journalists and their media station should be released without pre-condition and allow the radio station to resume operations.” Mr. Ibrahim added.

However, the authorities in Somaliland should release Ahmed Said Mohamed, Kalsan TV Berbera correspondent who was arrested on April 1, 2015 for covering a story about the Berbera port and the ministry of finance. On April 2, Berbera court gave him 7 days in jail and still held in police custody in Berbera. NUSOJ calls for his unconditional release.

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