JOINT STATEMENT: After three months incommunicado detention, journalist Mohamed Abuuja appears before a military court in Mogadishu
MOGADISHU, Somalia 07 June, 2020 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and Somali Media Association (SOMA) have noticed for the first time in three months that Radio Hiigsi editor, Mohamed Abduwahaab Nuur (Abuuja) appeared before a military court in Mogadishu today on Sunday 07 June, 2020 and was transferred to the Mogadishu central prison.
The journalist was first detained on 29 February 2020 following a critical article on Somali security forces. He was released on 2 March 2020 without charges to be only re-arrested five days later on 7 March by officers from the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) in Mogadishu. He has been held incommunicado ever since.
On Sunday 7 June, Mohamed Abuuja was secretly taken to the military court where he was transferred to the central prison in Mogadishu pending investigations, according to military court officials who spoke to SJS. Neither lawyers nor his family were made aware of this court appearance.
Officials from Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and Somali Media Association (SOMA) have jointly hired two lawyers from Heegan Law Firm: Dahir Mohamed Ali and Isaq Abdullahi Hassan, who will be legally representing journalist Mohamed Abuuja before the court.
“It is strange that journalist Mohamed Abduwahaab (Abuuja) has been held incommunicado detention for three months now only to intimidate and silence critical journalists in the pretext of anti-terror campaign,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary General of SJS said “Journalism is not a crime and the use of military court rather than a civilian court will endanger the future of free expression in Somalia, we therefore oppose any use of military tribunal for the case of Mohamed.”
“We are glad to announce that SOMA and SJS have jointly secured an agreement with the two lawyers to defend journalist Mohamed Abduwahaab (Abuuja). Mohamed was only arrested for exercising his right as a journalist,” Mohamed Abduwahab Abdullahi, the Secretary General of SOMA “We hope that Mohamed will get justice as soon as possible.”
“Mohamed Abduwahaab (Abuuja) has been victimized as a result of his journalism. We are glad and committed to defend him,” defending lawyer, Dahir Mohamed Ali said during a meeting with SJS and SOMA representatives today in Mogadishu.