MOGADISHU– Somalia’s northern breakaway Somaliland region has released hundreds of prisoners from jails on Friday, amid rising abuses of the freedom of expression
Somaliland leadership Mouse Bihi has ordered the release of 517 inmates from the jails over presidential pardon in a memo seen by MareegMedia.
In a statement released by Somaliland said, “I have pardoned 517 prisoners without facing any pressure from Human Rights groups”.
The released persons are those held for petty crimes.
Somaliland declared independence after the overthrow of Somali military dictator Siad Barre in 1991.
The authorities allegedly arrested dozens people, who visited families in Hargeisa after travelling from Somali capital Mogadishu.
In phone interview, some inmates in Hargeisa prison complain they have been unjustly convicted.
The prisoners say they had requested to be transferred to Hargeisa mainly so they could be closer to their families in Mogadishu. However, none of them have yet received a family visit.
For the past years, International and local human rights groups have been calling on Somaliland to put an end to the crackdown on journalists, activists and stop the abuse of the freedom of expression.