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Rights organizations urge Somalia to drop charges against journalist

Storyline:National News

Organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Wednesday urged a Somali court to dismiss charges against journalist Abdalle Ahmed Mumin. The groups also claimed that the government’s decision to apprehend Mumin was an attempt to victimize strong-willed Somali journalists.

In a letter to Somalia’s attorney general, the groups stated that “Continuing [Mumin’s] prosecution not only casts a chilling effect on media freedom and journalism, but it also significantly contributes to the closing civic space in the country.”

Officers in Mogadishu Central Prison freed Mumin on Monday mere hours after his conviction, but the charges against him stand.

Mumin described his experiences, saying:

This morning, Banadir Court judge, who was reading a pre-drafted letter sentenced me to 2 months in jail despite the fact I was detained 5 months ago. To my surprise, when I was taken to Mogadishu central prison, officers refused to jail me granting my immediate freedom…I went straight to my office to conduct my daily routine. I will continue to be on the forefront of defending press freedom and human rights in Somalia.
The court charged Mumin under three articles of the Penal Code. Article 219 involves bringing the nation into contempt, Article 321 disallows instigation to disobey the laws and Article 505 concerns non observance of orders of authorities. Mumin pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

Mumin was arrested in October 2022 as part of a police raid on journalists accused of “publishing” Al-Shabaab propaganda. He was then imprisoned for five months, sparking protests calling for his release.