Mogadishu Appeals Court Freed Rape Victim, Sentenced Journalist to Six Months in Jail Term
MOGADISHU (RBC) The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) protests the unjust and shocking verdict against the Somali journalist, AbdiazizAbdinur Ibrahim who was detained in January 10, 2013 for interviewing a woman who said that she was raped and called for an urgent meeting among the Somali media representatives and the journalists on Monday 4 March, 2013, to discuss the future of the threatened profession.
As planned, the preceding judge, Hassan Mohamed Ali (better known as Wariiri) came to court 12:40pm and announced the verdict which angered the Somali journalists and the media community at large. The judge said that reporter Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim interviewed woman and did not use the interview as legally required and did not respect the national laws, and the Somali media law and therefore did not submit the interview to the concerned organizations (for publication),
although the journalist did not publish the interview to any media outlet.
“Therefore, the court found Lul Ali Osman not guilty and sentenced Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim six months in jail term.” The presiding judge, Hassan Mohamed Ali “Wariiri” said.
Somali Journalists protested the ruling which has a chilling effect to the media freedom and is meant to criminalize the media profession, since the said sentence has not grounds and contradicts the National laws and the provisional national constitution which guarantees the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression and called for his urgent release.
“The verdict contravenes the provisional federal constitution which is the mother of the Somali national laws which guarantees the freedom of the press and information and Abdiaziz’s innocence has been proved to the court.” Mohamed Ibrahim, the Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said, “It not is right to jail a journalist whose sources said in front of the court that she had been raped and should be freed immediately.”
“The media profession should be decriminalized and full respect be given to the journalists and it is not right to sentence a journalist for not publishing his interview.” Mr. Ibrahim added.
Somali government repeatedly announced reforms to the Somali judiciary and Somali journalists believe that the reform announcement could have complicated the situation.
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) warns the verdict, which is criminalizing the media profession, could be a serious setback to the six pillar plan announced by the president Hassan Sheik Mohamoud and prime minister Abdi Farah Shirdoon. Regarding the media law which has not been signed by the Somali president and has not been put in effect should be not be referred, even if it is referred, the verdict contravenes. The union is working its draft with the media stakeholders and the ministry of information for further input and hence should not be used in courts.
Somali South-Central Non-State Actors (SOSCHENSA), the biggest civil society coalition in Somaliawill join in solidarity with Somali journalists and the media at large to protest the verdict on Monday.