12th March 2016- Human Rights Centre calls on Somaliland authorities to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Ahmed Mouse Sakaaro, a journalist based in Buroa, east of Somaliland. Ahmed is charged of falsely accusing the mayor of Buroa, Mohamed Yousuf Murad.
On 21st October 2015, Ahmed Mouse Sakaaro was attacked by 7 assailants who hit him in the head and chest with sticks. He was hospitalized for injuries he sustained, according to journalists and hospital records. Before the raid, Sakaaro received threats warning him to write about the mayor of Buroa. He believes that the mayor was behind the attack. Five people were arrested by the Police for the attack. The mayor submitted a complaint against the statement made by the journalist, arguing that he falsely accused.
“To charge a victim journalist who was attacked and injured in a broad day light is wrong. Sakaaro expressed who he thought was behind the attack and that is not crime. He received threats and thereafter he was attacked,” says Guleid Ahmed Jama, chairperson of Human Rights. “We urge the authorities to drop the charges against the journalist, investigate the matter independently and impartially and apprehend those who attacked the journalist,” he adds.
The Office of the Attorney General indicted for the attack seven people whom two were in absentia. On 3rd March 2016, the Regional Court of Togdheer issued its judgment. Two were acquitted, and one suspect who is in absentia was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment whereas three were given sentences less than one year in which the court accepted to convert the imprisonment into fine. Therefore, they were all released. The seventh attacker was unrecognized, says the court. The convicted people who were later released include the one who made the threats, according to the court judgment.
Ahmed is not satisfied with the ruling.
“The attackers are free, and Ahmed is facing criminal charges for telling who he thinks was behind the attack,” says Guleid.
Human Rights Centre calls on Somaliland government to:
Mulaho Mohamed Ali, spokesperson of Human Rights Centre