MOGADISHU, Somalia, – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) praises the Banadir Regional Court’s decision to reject charges against Ali Adan Mumin, Goobjoog Media reporter and welcomes the release of Bulsho TV correspondent, Abdirahman Keyse Tungub from Las’anod jail on Wednesday 29 May, 2019.
Banadir Regional Court Judge has on Wednesday quashed charges presented against journalist Ali Adan Mumin who was arrested by the police on Tuesday 28 May, 2019 in Mogadishu. He was taken to the court around 11.35am on Wednesday.
The government Attorney General’s office presented five charges under the Penal Code Articles of: 215 (Spreading Propaganda against the Nation); 219 (Disrespecting the Nation and the State); 220 (Insulting and Tarnishing the Character of the President); 267 (Violation against the Work of a Public Office) and Article 268 which alleges of Insulting a Public Officer.
The Presiding Judge of the Court clearly said that he was not convinced all the charges brought against the journalist and subsequently dropped all the charges against Mumin. The Judge however ordered the journalist be held in jail until midday Thursday May 30, 2019 and be released afterwards on the basis that the journalist previously posted allegations of national exam being leaked publicly.
According to lawyer Abdirahman Hassan Omar, who represented the journalist in the court today on behalf of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), all the charges brought against the journalist were unfounded leading the court to reject it.
“All the charges presented by the State Attorney General were absurd,” said lawyer Osman “Since the Court has dismissed all the charges against the journalist it is unlawful to keep him in jail. He should be released immediately.”
It is worth noting that the summoning letter sent to journalist Mumin on Tuesday by the police investigations department (CID) was dated on 25 May, 2019 and the allegations about the leaked exams mentioned in his Facebook post was dated on 26 May, 2019, which the journalist only reported about an information available on the public domain and did not publish any exam papers. This clearly indicates the timing of the order of the journalist’s arrest was pre-planed.
Journalist’s colleagues believe the journalist was arrested under the orders of Deputy Police Commissioner; Zakia Hussein following a Facebook post dated on 22 May 2019, which questioned Mrs. Hussein’s Somali language fluency. In that post, journalist Mumin protested against lacking access to sites of blasts when reporting saying that “The police denied media access to the places of explosions, while the Deputy Police Commissioner, Mrs Zakia Hussein who also acts as a police spokesperson could not speak clear Somali language, and that she does not write accurate details among other points.”
Goobjoog Media director, Hassan Mohamud Mohamed has called the police to allow the journalist to resume his work and release him without further delays.
“First of all, the arrest of our colleague was illegal and contrary to the Constitution, we therefore anticipated that the court releases our colleague without any condition,” Mohamed told SJS “However we hope that they will set him free tomorrow as per the court orders.”
Somali Journalists Syndicate praises the court’s decision to drop all charges against the journalist, while SJS condemns the continued and illegal detention.
“It’s appalling to press charges against journalists over only expressing their opinions, which is a basic constitutional right” SJS said, “We call upon the Somali authorities to immediately release our colleague Ali Adan Mumin, since the court of law dismissed all charges against him.”
SJS calls public officials to show tolerance since they are not exempt from criticism.
“Journalist should not fear reprisals even after they question and criticize officials including police officers. It is the work of journalists to question and challenge all officials for the public interest,” SJS adds.
LAS’ANOD JOURNALIST RELEASED
In a separate incident in Somaliland, Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) welcomes the release of Bulsho TV correspondent Abdirahman Keyse Tungub from Las’anod prison where he was arbitrarily detained for 16 days without charges.
“I am free now and heading to my home,” he told SJS shortly after he was released around 10.35am local time on Wednesday. “The police orallly told me that I am free to go.”
Colleagues and the Abdirahman himself told SJS that his release was ordered by the Governor of Sool region, Abdiqani Mohamud Jiirre.
The journalist is still under medication following a leg injury resulted by shrapnel from a gunshot by the police on the day of his arrest.
“I am taking my medication and planning to take rest for a while before I resume my journalism work,” he told SJS.
While SJS welcomes the release of the journalist, we also demand the arrest of the police officer who shot the bullet that resulted Abdirahman’s injury.