Somaliland: Hargeisa Regional Court Sentences Two Journalists

HRCHargeisa Regional Court convicted the editor and the manager of Hubaal newspaper. The judge pronounced his verdict today, 3rd July 2013. He sentenced to Hussein Hassan Abdilahi, the editor, 2 years of imprisonment and fine while Mohamed Ahmed Jama, the manager, was sentenced to 1 year of imprisonment and fine.

The Court judgment came after preliminary suspension of the newspaper followed by trial.

The lawyer of the defendants told HRC that they are considering appealing to the higher court. But, the lawyer accused the Court that it has been manipulated by the government.

The journalists were accused of defamation, false accusations and publication or circulation of False, exaggerated or tendencious news capable of disturbing public order.

It is the obligation of the media to make sure the veracity of its news, and it is the responsibility of the government to protect human rights.

HRC calls upon the government of Somaliland to take its responsibility to safeguard human rights as stipulated in article 32 of Somaliland constitution which states “The press and other media are part of the fundamental freedoms of expression and are independent. All acts to subjugate them are prohibited, and a law shall determine their regulation.”

It is intolerable to prosecute the journalists merely for facts they presented.

Hubaal newspaper was attacked in 24th April by two men. The authorities confirmed that Policeman was arrested for the raid.

Human Rights Center urges the authorities to immediately release the two sentenced journalists.

Ahmed Hussein Abdi

Head of Public Relations

Human Rights Center