Press release 30th October 2021
HRC Condemns the Arbitrary arrest of Journalists, Elders, and Activists for Freedom of Expression and Free Press.
The human rights center is disturbed by the arrest of journalist Abdifatax Mohammed Abdi in Lasanood, who works with Holhol media. He was arrested 24/10/2021 along with four traditional elders, Yusuf Ahmed Handule, Mustafa Aden Gale, Farahdeer Garad Ismail Ducaale, and Mohammed Awad Baruud. The journalist was arrested for videotaping the four traditional elders who were supporting a parliamentarian candidate in Somalia. They have not been charged with an offense and have been transferred to them in Hargeisa and Mandheere. They are currently still detained.
Repression and Silence is not just. This arbitrary arrest is against the constitution of Somaliland, in particular Article 32 (1) which grants freedom of speech to citizens. Furthermore, article 25 (2) stipulates that “no one’s right to freedom shall not be taken without cause.”
HRC is also concerned with the ongoing campaign against social activist and poet Saeed Mohamoud Gahayr. Saeed was previously arrested for freedom of expression. Presently, he was arrested 24/10/2021 on the orders of the Minister of the Ministry of Education, Ahmed Mohammed Diriye, as family members told HRC.
The Human Rights Center urges the Somaliland Government to stop arbitrary arrests and detentions, furthermore exacerbated by power abuse by officials. The Human Rights Center calls for the immediate release of the journalist, the traditional elders, and Saeed Mohamed Gahayr. Somaliland’s government should respect and adhere to the laws governing the country accordingly, and specifically to the Constitution of Somaliland.
Yasmin Omar Haji Mohamoud
Chairperson, Human Rights Centre, Somaliland