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Somalia: Journalists released after spending 2 months in prison

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has welcomed the release on bail of two Shabelle Media Network journalists and called on authorities to free the two other journalists still behind bars.

Abdimalik Yusuf, chairman of the Shabelle Media Network, and Ahmed Abdi Hassan, deputy editor of Radio Shabelle, were freed on bail after the Deputy Attorney General Mohamed Hassan stated on October 21 that the two journalists are facing charges of violating 320 and 321 of penal code. The charges are: incitement to commit a crime (Article 320 of the Penal Code) and incitement to disobey the law (Article 321 of Penal Code). The previous six charges against the journalists were apparently reduced to two charges in the cases of Yusuf and Hassan.

"We are relieved that these two journalists Abdimalik Yusuf and Ahmed Abdi Hassan are free. Judiciary authorities must now continue along this path and release the remaining two journalists behind bars," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

During last Tuesday's trial, the Office of the Attorney General asked for more time to prepare the case against Yusuf and Hassan, but the journalists' lawyers asked for bail, which was signed by two elders in Mogadishu as grantors.

Initially, four Shabelle Media Network journalists were supposed to appear in court today. But the Attorney General's Office decided October 20 afternoon to bring only two to court the following day, while the remaining two will be brought to court at an undetermined period.

“The authorities must release the remaining two journalists immediately and unconditionally, and drop all charges against the four, including those released on bail. Journalism is not a crime, and civilians, including journalists, should never face trial because of exercising their right to freedom of expression”.

In a hearing at Banadir Regional Court in Mogadishu on September 4, the office of the Attorney General officially charged the journalists of violating articles 184, 220, 231, 320, 321 and 328 of Somali Penal code.

The Shabelle Media Network journalists were arrested on August 15. They were charged on September 4 and transferred from a detention centre at the National Intelligence and Security Agency and then transferred to Mogadishu's central prison.

Date posted: October 28, 2014 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 6