Today, 11th May 2014, in a press conference, Human Rights Centre condemned the arrest of two Haatuf newspaper journalists, Yusuf Abdi Gabobe and Ahmed Ali Ege. Hargeisa Regional Court remanded yesterday the two journalists into the custody after it held the first hearing of the trial of the journalists. The Court denied the right of bail, says Ahmed Hussein Abdi, member of HRC, at press conference. He requested the immediate release of the journalists and demanded the government to uphold the judicial independence stipulated in the constitution. Ahmed stated that yesterday trial was not in conformity with the national laws and the international standards. HRC also held press conference yesterday on this matter.
The lawyers of the journalists told Human Rights Centre that the judge was partial and did not give equal opportunity to the parties. The Press Law shall be applied on this case, Ahmed says. The application of the outdated and general law on this case is contrary to article 130(5) of the Constitution. The article clearly states that the pre-constitution laws are only applicable if they do not conflict individual rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the constitution. The article further stipulates that after promulgation of new laws, the previous laws shall not remain in force. Human Rights Centre is concerned by the continuing sidelining of the Press Law and the criminalization of the press.
The Police shut down Haatuf newspaper and sister English paper, Somaliland Times in 7th April 2014. The authorities accused the paper number of allegations related to stories published by Haatuf.
In the World Press Freedom Day, 3rd May 2014, petition signed by 328 people consisting of human rights organizations, journalist’s organizations, lawyer’s organizations, civil society members and organizations, traditional elders, business community, professionals, academicians, members of the two houses of the parliament, the political parties and political association have requested the president to lift immediately the suspension of the four papers without condition. So far the president does not respond.
Human Rights Center requests the immediate release of the journalist.
Human Rights Center
Ms Mulaho Mohamed Ali