Somalia: Puntland Court Releases Senior Journalist After 6 Days of Illegal Detention

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Sunday August 13, 2017 - 08:10:02 in Latest News by SomaliUpdate Staff Reporter
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    Somalia: Puntland Court Releases Senior Journalist After 6 Days of Illegal Detention

    GAROWE (Somali Update Online) — A court in Puntland state of Somalia on Saturday freed senior journalist and press freedom advocate Omar Said Mohamed after six days of illegal detention by the Puntland security forces in Garowe.

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Journalist and press freedom advocate Omar Said Mohamed (known as Oma Dhere). | File photo.
GAROWE (Somali Update Online) — A court in Puntland state of Somalia on Saturday freed senior journalist and press freedom advocate Omar Said Mohamed after six days of illegal detention by the Puntland security forces in Garowe.
The renowned editor of Horsed Media news site, Mr. Omar Said Mohamed (Omar Dhere) was detained by heavily armed security forces in the evening of August 6th, 2017 in Garowe, the administrative capital of Puntland, and since then he was held incommunicado at a military detention in Southern Garowe, where local officials and journalists said was used to jail suspected members of the terror group Al-Shabab.
Following his release, Omar spoke at a press conference held at MAP's head quarter office in Garowe and said: "I was forcefully taken by heavily armed police and wasn't informed on who and why I was arrested. For the days in prison I wasn't taken to court for trail and until now I still don’t know what my charges are!”
Since Saturday, six days after Omar was detained, there were no any charges presented against him in contrast to the Puntland State Constitution and that of Somalia's Federal, which all prohibit any detention without charges for more than 48 hours.
According to a statement by Puntland Media Association, a regional press freedom watchdog, the journalist's release came following an order by the Nugaal Region's First Grade Court which instructed Omar's release on bail while instructing that Puntland officials behind the arrest of the journalist to deliver to court sufficient proof for the case to go to trial not later than the next 72 hours.
"The release of Omar, a devoted MAP member, is a relief for the whole journalism community in Puntland and Somalia," said MAP chairman Faisal Khalif.  "We still remain concerned the fact that Omar is released on bail. We will continue to fight against the targeting and persecution of journalists and their Association members by the Puntland authorities and any other government branches that tries to gag critical voices and media independence in Puntland.''
The journalist is also the communication officer of the press freedom organization MAP.
Earlier, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) denounced the unjustified detention of the journalist and called Puntland authorities for his immediate release.
The MAP secretary General, Fatima Mohamed Mohamud, who spoke at the gathering thanked all those media individuals, human right groups and the media organisation who stood up in solidarity with MAP's efforts while seeking justice for the unjustly arrested Journalist Omar Saed Mohamed.
Press freedom groups say intimidation, arrests and abuses against journalists and media in Puntland has increased under President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas's administration. Puntland authorities arbitrarily arrested journalists without charges, ordered the closure of media outlets whilst conveying a furious image intended to repress the free flow of information and to instill fear in other media.
Recently, Ahmed Ali Kilwe, an online journalist and founder of Puntland one was arrested in Garowe on the July 02, 2017, by the Puntland counter-terrorism police with directives from the Puntland President on allegations of "posting articles impertinent'' to the Puntland President. Ahmed's arrest came without charges and was freed after 12-days in jail without official explanation.

- SOMALI UPDATE ONLINE -



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