SOMALIA: Police beat up and briefly Detain Journalists In Mogadishu

The reporters come to the regional court over an invitation extended by the regional court chairman, Dr. Hashi Elmi Nor to cover court hearings, but on the orders of Col. Mohamed Dahir, Afar-Irdood police station’s chief, the journalists were beaten, some of them seriously and kicked out of the court.

The journalists who were beaten include, Mohamed Hassan Ali Reports for Simba Radio, Ms. Sacdiyo Mohamed Hassan, reports for Somali National Television (SNTV) Radio Mogadishu, Mustaf Abdinur Shafane, cameraman for Radio Shabelle/Tv, Abdifatah Mohamoud Siad better known as “Arizona” reports for Horncable Television, Abdulkadir Abdullahi Ga’al, a cameraman for Horncable Television. Later on, the journalists alerted the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), in which the union officials arrived at the scene on 12:30pm.

The Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists, Mohamed Ibrahim communicated the journalists’ concerns to the regional court security chief, Major Abdullahi Gedi who vowed to take
disciplinary actions against the soldiers and asked the journalists to return to the court.

Unfortunately, when the journalists agreed to return and queued the outside entrance of the court, the same soldier grabbed a gun from another soldier and pointed to the journalists, threatening “to kill anyone who tries to enter, disobeying his commander.”, then the union leaders asked the journalists to leave for safety.

When the journalists left, the Members of the police from the Afar-Irdood police station in Hamarwein district were ordered to chase and arrest the journalists. At the presence of the Col. Mohamed Dahir, Afar-Irdood police station’s chief who ordered the arrest. The police started beating the journalists and pointing to the gun those who managed to escape, grasped two cameras and seriously beat Nor Mohamed Barre, a cameraman for the Royal Television and Bile Mire Mohamed, a reporter for Risaala Radio briefly detained them. The Union treasurer, Abdirashid Abdulle Abikar received minor injuries as he tried to intervene police beating a journalist and the middle finger
of his left arm was broken.

NUSOJ managed to communicate and meet with the regional court chairman, Dr. Hashi Elmi Nor and raised the concerns of the journalists and the arbitrary arrest. Dr. Hashi acknowledged that “he
had invited the journalists to cover the court hearing and was not aware of what happened to the journalists. The court chairman ordered the Afar Irdood police station to release the journalists and provide their equipment.

“We condemn the beating and the arbitrary detentions against the journalists and it is unlawful to knowingly point guns to the messengers.” Mohamed Ibrahim, Secretary General of the National Union
of Somali Journalists said, “The journalists must be respected and facilitated in carrying out their duties.”

“This clearly demonstrates the poor working relationship between the police and the media community following the recent outraged rape case, however, journalists must feel safe in exercising their
profession free from reprisals.” Mr. Ibrahim added.

In a separate incident, police beat and briefly detained Abdullahi Ahmed Nor who is a reporter for the UK based Universal Television last Thursday on March 07, 2013. The police at the Afar Irdood police station beat the journalist Abdullahi Ahmed Nor at the gunpoint wounding his face, the head and the back and arrested him briefly with blood filled on his body. He was later taken to a hospital for treatment.

The attacks follow after the police arrested a freelance journalist, Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim for interviewing a woman who said that she was gang raped by gunmen in a military uniform and the woman he interviewed on January 10, 2013. The journalist was imprisoned by exercising his journalism profession after last week, the appeals court cleared from making false claims. The journalist still remains in prison and the appeals court did not yet issue the written judgment.

Source: NUSOJ