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Somaliland: Freedom of Expression in Peril

21 May 2019

Human Rights Centre (HRC) expresses serious concern over a worsening situation of freedom of expression in Somaliland. Politicians, journalist and social media users are in prison for statements they made or posted on Facebook.

Mohamed Sidiq Dhame, the youth wing leader of the opposition Waddani party, was arrested on 1st May 2019 from his home without a court warrant, according to family members and authorities who spoke to HRC. Mohamed was arrested for a Facebook post criticizing a State of Emergency imposed by the president of Somaliland on three districts of Sanaag region. According to the Deputy Police Commissioner who spoke to the media on 2nd May 2019, the Facebook post of Dhame was “inciting” and “insult to the leadership of the nation.” The Parliament in joint session rejected the State of Emergency.

Dhame was remanded on 4th May 2019 by Hargeisa Regional Court on seven days in prison pending a police investigation. Upon expiration of the seven days remand period, Dhame has not been brought to court again. According to article 47 of the Criminal Procedure Code, an accused person who is in pre-trial detention should be brought to court every seven days.

On 9th May 2019, police raided the dwelling-house of Mohamed Ahmed Dhakool, a member of the House of Representatives of the Parliament elected from Sool region. The arrest of the member of parliament (MP) was conducted without a court warrant. His arrest is related to a statement he made in which he “opposed” the celebration of the 18th May, which is the commemoration of the day Somaliland declared the restoration of independence in 1991. The Police said the MP made “anti-national statement and opposed the existence of Somaliland.”

He was brought to court on 10th May. The court refused to remand him and stated that his immunity bars prosecution. The Standing Committee of the House of Representatives refused to remove his immunity and called on the government immediate release.

Article 49(1) of the Constitution states “no member of the House may be detained, and no action may be taken against him for any matter which he learnt or raised at the House or on which he expressed his opinion.”

Article 79 of the Constitution states that members of the parliament “cannot be brought before a court, nor imprisoned until they are stripped of their privileges for the responsibilities that they hold for the nation.”  “A majority vote of two-thirds of the total membership of the House” can remove the immunity of the member of the Parliament. According to article 49 of the Constitution “If the House is not in session, consent for the action taken against the member must be sought from the (Permanent) Standing Committee of the House of Representatives.” In this case, the Standing Committee rejected the request to remove immunity.

Despite the decisions of the court and the Parliament, the government still holds the member of the Parliament in police custody.

On 13th May 2019, the police of Las Anod arrested Abdirahman Keyse Mohamed, a journalist with Bulsh TV. During the arrest, Abdirahman sustained injury caused by the debris of gunshots fired on the grounds by a police officer who was conducting the arrest. Abdirahman was arrested for interviews with members of the public about the arrest of Mohamed Ahmed Dhakool, the member of parliament arrested in Hargeisa.

Other people arrested for expressing an opinion include Jamaal Abdi Muhumed arrested on 18th April for Facebook post criticising the police, Abdimalik Muse Oldon who has been arrested on 17th April for Facebook posts, and Abdirahman Aar who has been arrested on 14th May 2019 in Hargeisa for wearing outfits of Somalia flag. All are still in detention.

On 8th May 2019, four men were arrested in Las Anod for Facebook posts allegedly criticising the executive secretary of Las Anod local municipality. They were released on 12th May 2019 without charges.

According to article 32 of the Constitution “every citizen shall have the freedom, in accordance with the law, to express his opinions orally, visually, artistically or in writing or in any other way.”

Human Rights Centre calls on the government of Somaliland:

  1. To release all those arrested for statements they made or posted on social media platforms;
  2. To respect freedom of expression and tolerate different opinions.

Yasmin Omar Haji Mohamoud

Chairperson of Human Rights Centre Somaliland

Mobile: +252 (0)634472011

http://www.hrcsomaliland.org/

 

Xarunt Xuquuqal Insaanku waxaay walaac ka qabtaa xaladda xorriyadda hadalka ee Somaliland oo sii xumaanaysa.

Xarunt Xuquuqal Insaanku waxaay walaac wayn ka qabtaa xaladda xorriyadda hadalka ee Somaliland oo sii xumaanaysa. Waxa hada xabsi ku jira siyaasiyiin, suxufi iyo dad isticmaala baraha bulshada.

Maxamed Sidiiq Dhame oo ah gudoomiyaha garabka dhalinayrada ee xisbiga Waddani waxa laga xidhay gurigiisa 1dii May 2019. Waxa lagu xidhay qoraal uu soo dhigay bartiisa Facebook ga oo uu kaga soo horjeestay Xaalad Degdeg ah oo lagu soo rogay degmooyin ka tirsan gobolka Sanaag. Sida uu u sheegay warbaahinta booliiska Somaliland 2dii May, Dhame waxa lagu haystaa in qoraalkiisu ahaa kicin dadwayne iyo cay loo gaystay madaxda qaranka. Fadhi wada jir ah oo uu yeeshay Baarlamaanka Somaliland wuxuu ku diiday Xaaladda Degdega ah.

Dhame waxa Maxkamadda Gobolka Hargeysa ay rumaan garaysay 4tii May in lagu hayo xabsiga 7 maalmood si baadhitaan loo sameeyo. Markii ay dhamaatay todobadii maalmood laguma soo celin Maxkamadda. Sida uu dhigayo qodobka 47aad ee Xeerka Habka Ciqaabtu, qofka eedaysanaha ah ee xidhan waa in Maxkamadda la horkeenaa todobadii maalmood ba hal mar.

Taariikhdu markay ahayd 9 May 2019, waxa booliisku ay ka soo xidheen guriga uu degan yahay xildhibaan Maxamed Axmed Dhakool oo ka tirsan Golaha Wakiilada, lagana soo doorto gobolka Sool. Ma jirin amar maxkamadeed oo booliisku watay markii ay xidheen xildhibaanka. Xadhigiisu wuxuu la xidhiidhay hadal uu jeediyay oo uu kaga soo horjeestay dabaal degga maalinta 18 ka May oo ah maalinta ay ku dhawaaqday Somaliland inay dib ula soo noqotay madax banaanida. Booliisku wuxuu sheegay in hadalka Xildhibaan Dhakool uu yahay mid ka soo horjeeda qaranimada iyo jiritaanka Somaliland.

Waxa xildhibaanka la horkeenay Maxkamadda Gobolka Hargeysa 10 May. Maxkamaddu way diiday inu rumaan garayso iyada oo sheegtay in xasaanaddu ay u diidayso. Gudida Joogtada ah ee Golaha Wakiiladu waxay diideen codsi lagu dalbay in laga qaado xildhibaanka xasaanadda, waxaayna u soo jeediyeen dawlada inay xildhibaanka xorriyadiisa u soo celiso.

Qodobka 49(1) ee Dastuurka Somaliland wuxuu sheegayaa “Xubinta Golaha Wakiilada loo qaban maayo, waxna loogu qaadi maayo arrin uu ogaaday ama uu Golaha soo hor-dhigay ama arrimo uu ra’yi ka dhiibay.”

Qodobka 79aad ee dastuurku wuxuu sidoo kale dhigayaa xubin ka tirsan Baarlamaanka aan “lama hor geyn karo maxkamad, loomana gudbin karo xabsi, ilaa xubinta ama xubnaha laga xayuubiyo dhawr-sanaanta xilka ay ummadda u hayaan.” Maamuuska waxa Goluhu kaga xayuubin karaan xildhibaanka “saddex meelood laba ahaan tirada guud ee Golaha.” “Haddii aanu Goluhu fadhiyin, waxa waajib ah in oggolaanshaha tallaabada laga qaadayo xubinta laga helo Guddida Joogtada ah ee Golaha Wakiilada,” sida ku cad qodobka 49 ee Dastuurka. Dacwadda la xidhiidha xildhibaan Dhakool way diiday Gudida Joogtada ah ee Golaha Wakiiladu in laga qaado maamuuska.

Iyada oo ay jiraan go’aanada maxkamadda iyo Baarlamaanka, hadana dawladdu weli xadhig ayay ku sii haysaa xildhibaan Dhakool.

13kii May 2019, Booliiska Laascaanood waxaay xidheen Cabdiraxmaan Kayse Maxamed oo ah suxufi ka tirsan Bulsho TV. Markii la xidhayay suxufiga waxa dhaawac soo gaadhsiiyay filidh xabad askari booliis ahi dhulka ugu dhuftay. Suxufigan waxa lagu xidhay waraysiyo uu ka qaaday dad reer Laascaanood ah oo ka hadlay xadhiga Xildhibaan Dhakool.

Dadka kale ee xabsi ugu jira aragtidooda oo ay dhiibteen waxa ka mid ah Jamaal Cabdi Muxumed oo 18kii April loo xidhay qoraal uu Facebook ga soo dhigay oo dhaliilaya Booliiska, Cabdimaalik Muuse Coldoon oo loo xidhay 17kii April qoraal Facebook, iyo Cabdiraxmaan Aar oo 14kii May lagu xidhay Hargeysa dhar ka samaysan calanka Somalia oo uu xidhay.

8dii May 2019, waxa magaalada Laascaanood lagu xidhay afar nin oo loo haystay inay Facebook ga ku qoreen dhaliil ka dhan ah xoghayaha dawladda hoose ee Laascaanood. Waxa la sii daayay 12 May.

Qodobka 32aad ee Dastuurka Somaliland wuxuu sheegaya “muwaadin kasta waxa uu xor u yahay in uu ra’yigiisa ku bandhigo qoraal, hadal, muuqaal, suugaan ama qaab kale oo xeerka waafaqsan.”

Xarunta Xuquuqal Insaanku waxaay ugu baaqaysaa dawladda Somaliland inay xorriyadooda u soo celiso dadka xidhan iyo inay ixtiraamto xorriyadda cabiraadda oo ay u dulqaadato aragtiyaha kala duwan.

 

Yasmin Omar Haji Mohamoud

Gudoomiyaha Xarunta Xuquuqal Insaanka

Mobile: +252 (0)634472011

http://www.hrcsomaliland.org/

 

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