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Rights group call on Somali gov' to release radio journalist

Monday October 19, 2020

Photo: Supplied via Somali Journalist Syndicate (SJS)

Mogadishu (HOL) - Somali media rights groups have called on the government to release a prominent journalist after Somali intelligence officers apprehended him from his home on Saturday.

Abdullahi Kulmiye Addow, a veteran journalist with Radio Kulmiye, was arrested by NISA agents at his home just before midnight on Saturday evening. According to family and friends, he is being held in an undisclosed location by Somali authorities. They say that they haven't been given a reason to justify his arrest.  It is unclear if the men who came for him had a legal warrant for his arrest, as stipulated by Somalia's newly enacted Media Law.

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Addow was arrested days after he interviewed Abukar Omar Adani, a successful Mogadishu-based businessman. The latter is believed to be one of the chief financial backers of the defunct Islamic Courts Union. In the interview, Adani said that Al-Shabaab, with their limited resources and ongoing insurgency, is better organized than the Somali government.  There are reports that Adani was arrested by NISA as well for his comments.

Media rights groups in Somalia have denounced Addow's arrest as an affront on press freedom in Somalia. Mohamed Abduwahab Abdullahi, the secretary-general of Somali Media Association (SOMA), said that his detention was tantamount to abduction and called on the Somali authorities to cease harassing journalists who are critical of the government.

Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the secretary-general of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), called for Addow's immediate release.

"It is outrageous to hear that Abdullahi Kulmiye Addow's house was raided and himself detained in an undisclosed location just for reporting a news story critical to the government. The arrest is unacceptable. We call for his immediate and unconditional release." He added that, "journalists and their media houses should be allowed to freely report on crucial news stories without fear of arrest or harassment even if the authorities do not favour them."

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