The Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) strongly condemns the arrest of journalist Abdiaziz Ahmed Gurbiye who was also the Deputy Director of Goobjoog Media Group on Tuesday morning April 14, 2020, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
The journalist who was arrested yesterday at the Hodan district police station has been transferred to Mogadishu Central Prison on Wednesday afternoon 15 April,2020 without being convicted.
At Banadir Regional Court in Mogadishu today on 14 April 2020, the office of the Attorney General officially charged journalist Abdiaziz Ahmed Gurbiyea over three Facebook posts which he shared in his Facebook page on 13 April 2020 accusing him that he openly violated the prestige and honor of the president and exaggerated false information likely to disturb public order
According to the latter from Attorney General’s office seen by FESOJ, the four charges against the journalist in Somalia’s Penal Code which were passed to the Banadir Regional judge are.
Article 220 (Offending the Honor or Prestige of the Heal of State)
Article 271 (Offense Against the Authorities by Means of Damaging Posters)
Article 382 (Publication or dissemination of false, exaggerated or misleading information, likely to disturb public order
Article 229 (Condition of reciprocity)
According to lawyers defending journalists Barre Osman and Ahmed Abdirahman Dirie, the arrest of the journalist is illegal and is directly violating of the Provisional Constitution of Somalia that fully guarantees freedom of speech and of the media and an individual level every person has a right free to express his opinions independently
(FESOJ strongly condemns the unlawful arrest of the journalist, and the decision to undermine media work. We indeed deplore the absurd charges pressed against Goobjoog Deputy Director Abdiaziz Ahmed Gurbiye ,” said Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu FESOJ Secretary General who was at the court today . “We believe the use of criminal defamation charges against journalists and other critics will violate their right to freedom of expression and media freedom. The UN Human Rights Committee has made clear that States should consider decriminalizing defamation and that, even in the most serious cases, imprisonment is never an appropriate penalty” Moalimuu said
FESOJ has been a major concern for the journalist’s arrest and has since he was detained him on Tuesday was working closely with Goobjoog’s administration and the lawyers defending the journalist’s case to secure his release which has far not been achieved.
FESOJ calls on Somali government to release the the journalist and drop all these trumped-up charges against him, and stop abusing the law to silence independent media community in the country.
“As part of critical measure to curb the possible spread of Coronavirus, Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo pardons 148 inmates, so We are so shocked to learn now at this time of the danger of COVID-19 that a journalist is jailed over Facebook posts “ FESOJ Abadir Abdulkadir Elmi said.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Somalia ratified in 1990, states “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.