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Human Rights Center: stop arbitrary detentions and respect the freedom of expression enshrined in the constitution

Hargeisa (SD) – The Somaliland Human Rights Center has confirmed the number of people detained in Somaliland for displaying the Somali flag, and has demanded the release of those detained illegally.

Press Release from the Human Rights Center signed by Yasmin Omar Haji Mohamud, Chairwoman of the Center, confirming that 42 people have been arrested in Borama for posing with the Somali flag.

“ Thirty-five (35) women are detained in Gabiley Prison whom all were detained from Borama on 26 June 2021 for showing Somalia’s flag or wearing flag outfits. The detainees were apprehended without a court warrant. They are not charged with a crime, and they are not brought to court. Additionally, seven (7) people are detained in Borama Prison for the same grounds with the same conditions.” Said the statement.

The statement also said that the authorities prevented members of the Human Rights Center from visiting Gabiley Prison to observe the condition of girls detained there.

“The Prison authorities refused Human Rights Centre’s representatives to meet the detainees in the Prison. Human Rights Centre interviewed prison guards and family members.” The HRC statement said.

The Center accused the Somaliland government of illegally detaining 42 people in connection with the Somali flag case “They are detained in two different prisons, and they are not charged with a crime.”

Human Rights Center calls on the Somaliland government to immediately release the Somali flag bearers who are being held illegally and for the government to respect the constitution.

The Center pointed out that article 25(2) of the Somaliland constitution, “No person shall be deprived of his/her liberty except in accordance with the law.” The law prohibits detention without a court warrant unless the person is caught in the act of committing a crime. The constitution further states that detained persons “have the right to be brought before a court within 48 (forty-eight) hours of her/his arrest,” according to article 27(2) of the constitution.

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