Somaliland

Somaliland: Oldon Freed at Last

Outspoken journalist and critic of Somaliland administration Abdimalik Oldon was Saturday released in a presidential pardon a year into a three-year jail term.

Oldon was let free Saturday among other prisoners who had been serving various jail terms in the break-away region following a decree by President Muse Bihi.

Oldon was arrested last April and charged in July 2019 for social media posts critical of President Bihi.

The Court of Appeal in Hargeisa upheld the three-year jail term in September earlier handed to the journalist by a lower court.
There has been mounting local and international pressure on President Bihi to release Oldon.

Amnesty International in April called for Oldon’s release following pardoning of over 500 prisoners to decongest prisons in light of COVID-19 spread.

Amnesty said Oldon’s arrest and sentencing were based on outdated laws aimed at curtailing freedom of expression.

“The authorities are using repressive, vaguely worded and outdated criminal offenses in the penal code to crack down on the right to freedom of expression,” Amnesty said.

Eryal TV journalist Abdirahman Mohamed Hiddig was sentenced t0 21 months in January in Somaliland.

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