MOGADISHU, Somalia, 11 January, 2020 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) is extremely dismayed by the unfair and politically motivated sentence of one year in jail and a fine of three million shilling (US$300) against Horn Cable TV editor, Abdikadir Saleban Asayr (Coday) over spreading propaganda against Egal International Airport by the Hargeisa-based Marodi Jeh Regional Court on Saturday 11 January, 2020.
The journalist’s colleagues, who were at the court told SJS that early on Saturday editor Abdikadir Saleban Asayr (Coday) was taken to the court where the government attorney read a charge sheet accusing the journalist of spreading propaganda against Egal International Airport. The government attorney was referring a news report on 2 November, 2019 about an air safety related incident involving Flydubai, a UAE-owned airline which reportedly complained against the services at Hargeisa’s Egal International Airport.
Colleague journalists said the court hastily announced its verdict on Saturday. Lawyers representing Mr. Coday said they were preparing to appeal against the verdict.
Editor Abdikadir Saleban Asayr (Coday) was arrested on 18 November, 2019. A day later (19 November), Marodi Jeh Regional Court approved police request to remand him in custody for seven days and has remained in jail since.
SJS is also concerned about the journalist’s health condition as he is reported to be suffering from cardiac problems and hypertension, according to colleagues and a member of his family.
“We are saddened to learn about the one year jail sentence and the fine of three million shilling against our colleague journalist Abdikadir Saleban Asayr (Coday) in Hargeisa by Marodi Jeh Regional Court. It is regrettable, despite Somaliland’s Constitution clearly guarantees freedom of the press, that still such scenarios continue to happen,” said Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS).
“SJS calls Somaliland authorities to quash this unfair verdict and unconditionally free journalist Abdikadir Saleban Asayr (Coday),” Mr. Mumin adds.
Abdikadir becomes the second journalist languishing in Somaliland jails after Abdimalik Muse Oldon who is currently serving three and half years jail term sentenced to him in July last year.
Separately, Somalia’s police on Wednesday 8 January, 2020, detained privately-owned CNA TV journalist, Ahmed Abdi Adawe in Mogadishu while six other journalists namely: Abdullahi Mohamed Sheikhdon (CNA TV); Farhan Mohamed Hussein (Radio Kulmiye); Mohamed Dalal (Radio Kumiye); Ali Elmi Salad (Radio Kulmiye); Mohamed Osman Gurey (Al-Jazeera Arabic) were their cameras confiscated and their footage deleted by the police following a deadly car bomb near the country’s Parliament. Reuters photojournalist Feisal Omar and Al-Jazeera Arabic freelance cameraman, Mohamed Osman Gurey also said they were attacked by the police.