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European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights Demands the release of Somali Journalist

Geneva (SD) – In a statement, Maria Arena, chair of the European Parliament’s Human Rights subcommittee, addressed the ongoing attacks on Somali journalists and the general abuses of press freedom.


I pay tribute to Somali journalists who risk their lives in the fight to freely exercise their profession and defend media freedom. The murder of journalist Said Yusuf Ali, reporter for Kalsan TV, on 4 May 2020 in Mogadishu, has shocked the whole community of journalists in the country. I call on the Somali government to carry out a prompt, impartial, independent and thorough investigation into this heinous crime to bring those responsible to justice.

I welcome the recent announcement by the President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, on reforming Somalia’s Penal Code of 1964, which has been used frequently to repress journalists expressing critical views.

This reform would be an important step forward in protecting journalists, who, together with the citizens of Somalia, are eager to exercise their fundamental right to freedom of expression without fear of reprisals or criminal persecution.

I expect the Somali authorities to follow the President’s announcement by dropping the criminal charges levelled against Mukhtar Mohamed Atosh of Voice of America (VOA) and Abdiasis Ahmed Gurbiye of Goobjoog Media Group, who were released on bail but are facing criminal charges.

I also urge the Somaliland authorities to immediately and unconditionally release detained journalist Abdimalik Musse Oldon who was charged with spreading anti-national propaganda and disseminating false news.

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