Somaliland: Human Rights Center condemns arrest of opposition politicians and journalists

Hargeisa(SD)-On Monday night, 17 November 2019, Somaliland police arrested two opposition party leaders in the country. Khadar Hussein Abdi, secretary general and Barkhad Jama Batun, the party’s spokesperson.

On Sunday, the party leadership called for supporters to gather at the headquarters for information. The police chief, Mohamed Adan Saqandhi, called the call unlawful and said he would not allow the rally to happen.

Today, 18 November 2019, police have closed the headquarters of Horn Cable Television, and also arrested the editor of Abdikadir Osman (Coday). Television officials told Human Rights Center not to show a court order.

Article 32 of the Somaliland Constitution states that “every citizen shall have the right to express his opinion in writing, in speech, in appearance, in literature or in any other manner in accordance with the law.”

The article also adds that “every citizen is free to organize and take part in a meeting or peaceful demonstration in accordance with the law.”

The constitution guarantees freedom of information by stating that “the press and other media are part of the fundamental freedoms of expression, and have their independence; It is prohibited for any action to harass me. ”

It is the first time in Somaliland since the adaptation of the multi-party system has been arrested this many politicians. This unprecedented move by the government is alarming. Political parties have the right to protest. It is a constitutional right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on Political and Civil Rights.

The Center condemns the gruesome measures taken against the opposition politicians and journalists. We call on the government to respect the constitution and release the imprisoned politicians and journalists.

The center expresses serious concerns about Somaliland’s continued decline in freedoms. We call on the government to stop violating the constitutional rights and harassment of opposition leaders.

Yasmin Omar Haji Mohamoud

Chair of the Human Rights Center

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