The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has today condemned the arrest of an editor of privately-owned newspaper in Hargeisa, Somaliland.
Mohamud Abdi Jama, aka Huuto, who is the editor-in-chief of Waaheen newspaper, was arrested on Thursday afternoon, 13 December, at the Central Investigations Department (CID) after he was summoned.
The editor was arrested after officials of Somaliland presidency reportedly brought an arrest warrant from Hargeisa Regional Court to CID headquarters. Jama was arrested after CID commander Mohamed Muse Abraar told him that he is under arrest.
CID said Jama was accused of reporting unsubstantiated allegation made at a press conference held by human rights defenders on human rights violations in Somaliland. The CID further stated that Waaheen newspaper particularly cited in its human rights report that son in-law of Somaliland president is collecting hundreds of thousands of US dollars from Somaliland Television, a TV network controlled and managed by Somaliland government.
Officers at the CID informed Jama that he has to provide evidence of allegations against the son in-law of Somaliland president. NUSOJ was however informed that theses allegations were made by chair of Somaliland Human Rights Network Suleyman Huquq.
Mohamud Abdi Jama is expected to appear tomorrow, Saturday, at Hargeisa regional Court to face charges of publishing unsubstantiated allegations.
NUSOJ fears that the problems to publishing and distributing newspapers, arrests of journalists and defamatory legal actions against editors are just calculated campaign to silence the print media in Somaliland.
“We are concerned about arrest of Mohamud Abdi Jama and call on the authorities to release him immediately and put an end to the harassment of journalists” said Abdirisak Omar Ismail, NUSOJ Supreme Council President who is currently visiting Hargeisa.
MOGADISHU, Somalia, December 14, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)