Human Rights Centre calls on Somaliland authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Abdirahman Mohamed Egeh of Somalinews TV, Ahmed Saed Mohamed, a reporter for Kalsan TV, and Mubarig Osman Saed of Star TV.
The three journalists were arrested in Berbera, 190 km from Hargeisa. Abdirahman Mohamed Egeh and Ahmed Saed Mohamed were arrested on 25th May, 2016, while Mubarig Osman Saed was arrested on 26th May.
The journalists were arrested after the mayor of Berbera submitted to the police a list of journalists he wanted arrested for giving coverage to a member of Berbera local government council who expressed skepticism on the agreement between the Somaliland government and DB World, a company based in United Arab Emirates, on Berbera port management. The councilor voiced his statements at a meeting held in Berbera in the presence of the head of DB World who visited Somaliland. According to journalists in Berbera, reporters who were present at the meeting were ordered by the mayor not to report the remarks of the councilor, Suleiman Ali Khayre. Those who ignored the instruction and reported were all ordered to be arrested, according to sources in Berbera.
Article 32 (3) of the Somaliland constitution states that “the press and other media are part of the fundamental freedoms of expression and are independent. All acts to subjugate them are prohibited…”
“This is unacceptable. The journalists working in Berbera have been under intense pressure. The government shall not suppress the media and the critical voices,” says Ahmed Hussein Abdi, program coordinator at Human Rights Centre. “We are concerned on the ways critical voices are treated in Berbera. The freedom of expression shall be respected. The voices of the local people in Berbera shall not be suppressed,” he adds.
Human Rights Centre calls on the government of Somaliland to immediately release the journalists.
Ahmed Hussein Abdi
Program Coordinator of Human Rights Centre