Mogadishu (Onkod Radio)— Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and the Somali Media Association (SOMA) call for the urgent and unconditional freedom of journalist Hashim Omar Hassan, a member of SJS human rights journalists network, who is arbitrarily detained in Adado town in Galmudug State, since Saturday morning 9 July, over Facebook posts deemed critical to Galmudug State president, Ahmed Abdi Karie (Qoorqoor).
According to local journalists and an official at Galmudug’s ministry of information, around 10:30am on Saturday, armed police detained journalist Hashim Omar Hassan who reports for Shabelle television and radio while covering the Eidul-Adha congregation in Adado town. He was then escorted to the police station where he was held.
Adado district police commander, Mohamed Cadceed confirmed that his officers detained the journalist after president Ahmed Qoorqoor instructed Hashim’s arrest through the Adado district commissioner, Abdullahi Abdirahman Hussein (popularly known as Tootoole). He said the journalist was arrested over two Facebook posts deemed critical to president Ahmed Qoorqoor’s visit in Baxdo following the recent al-Shabaab attack. On Friday 8 July, Hashim made two posts alleging Galmudug state president Ahmed Qoorqoor, who is currently on a visit to the area, of “turning down the role of Galmudug security forces in the fight against al-Shabaab”.
When SJS and SOMA reached out, the minister of Information of Galmudug State, Ahmed Shire, said he was following up to the journalist’s arrest adding that he was not informed about any charges against Hashim.
SJS and SOMA protest journalist Hashim Omar Hassan’s ongoing detention as we call for his immediate and unconditional release. Galmudug’s president, Ahmed Qoorqoor and his state officials should not perpetuate the threats and arbitrary detention of journalists for publishing views critical to the state or the president himself. In October last year, the same police officers detained journalist Hashim in Adado following his report that covered a meeting by members of the Sufi followers who supported the renewed resurgence of the Ahlusuna militia in Galmudug and freed him days later without charge.
“We strongly condemn the ongoing arbitrary detention of our member journalist, Hashim Omar Hassan in Adado since Saturday. We call for his immediate and unconditional freedom,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary-General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said. “While Galmudug is in the midst of humanitarian and security crisis amid the state election scheduled in less than two years’ time, state officials should stop their intimidatory tactics against independent journalists.”
“We condemn the illegal arrest of our colleague journalist, Hashim Omar Hassan in Adado on Saturday. We demand his immediate release. There is no reason for a journalist to be arrested for covering public interest events in his region,” Mohamed Osman Makaran, the Secretary-General of Somali Media Association (SOMA) said.