NUSOJ condemns arrest of VOA Journalist

Published: December 22, 2009

22 December 2009
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is concerned about increasing attacks against journalists in Puntland following arrest of Voice of America-Somali section reporter, Mohamed Yasin Isak who was taken from his house in Galkayo by the Puntland Intelligent Service (PIS) on Sunday midnight 21 December 2009, around 3:00 AM.
A group of about twenty-five soldiers with two battlewagons from PIS raided the journalist‘s house according to the wife of the journalist.  The next day Mr Isak was transferred from Galkacyo to Garowe, the capital of Puntland administration. The journalist is now being held in a jail at the PIS headquarters in Garowe.
Neither Puntland government nor PIS talked about the arrest of Mohamed Yasin but journalists relate his arrest as a reprisal of his reporting on the crackdown by the government against the internally displaced people from Southern Somalia due to insecurity prevailing.
The Puntland administration accuses these displaced people of breaching the security system and harbouring “Al-Shabaab fighters”. Puntland accuses Al-Shabaab members of being responsible for recent killings and explosions in main towns of Puntland. Mohamed Yasin Isak interviewed in his reports members of Internally displaced persons who were complaining the way the administration targeted them, which they said is collective punishment and they feel to be discriminated against the community they are living with.
According to the local reporters, Yasin’s reports were being listened and followed by senior officers from the security forces.
“We have particular concerns for the safety and welfare of journalist Mohamed Yasin Isak. This directive is part of ongoing intimidation and suppression against the rights of journalists and the freedom of Expression,’’ said Burhan Ahmed Dahir, Puntland Coordinator of NUSOJ.
‘‘We strongly condemn this illegal acts of targeting the journalists due to telling the truth’’ Burhan Ahmed Dahir added. 
Mr Isak recently recovered from a bullet wounds after he was shot on the shoulder by the Puntland policeman at check point who opened a fire on the journalist in his car. This shooting came hours after the journalist received verbal threats from Mudug Region Police commander Muse Ahmed Abdirahman. In August 2009, Mr Isak with other two VOA journalists were suspended to report from Puntland in a decree issued by the Ministry of Information of Puntland.
According to NUSOJ information, the journalists in Puntland are facing serious pressures and threats over their safety and security after the administration accelerated their targeted acts against journalists. There are reports of a number of attacks against journalists in Puntland, which are unreported.

For further information, contact:
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
Taleex Street, KM4 Area, Hodan District,
Mogadishu, Somalia, tel/fax: +252 1 859 944,

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