SJS and SOMA support Radio Mustaqbal’s lawsuit against senior govt officials

MOGADISHU, Somalia, 08 May 2021 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and Somali Media Association (SOMA) jointly announce their support for Radio Mustaqbal’s filing a lawsuit against the Director of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Fahad Yasin and Villa Somalia Deputy Chief of Staff, Abdinur Mohamed Ahmed over the 27 April raid on Mustaqbal Media.

Through its lawyers, Radio Mustaqbal filed the legal complaint and was officially registeredinto the Office of the Attorney General of the Federal Government of Somalia on World Press Freedom Day on 03 May 2021.

According to the filing document seen by SJS and SOMA, Radio Mustaqbal accuses the two officials: Mr. Yasin and Mr. Ahmed of directing the 27 April 2021 violent raid on Mustaqbal Media by the Turkish-trained special police unit known as “Haramcad”.  As documented by SJS, the armed officers entered radio Mustaqbal offices and studios in K4 area at 6:00am on that Tuesday and ordered the staff on duty to come down at gunpoint, where they beat and harassed radio editor Bashir Mohamud Yusuf before confiscating computers, external hard drives, laptops, phones and cameras. The radio’s programming was suspended subsequently until the next morning.

In its filing, Radio Mustabqal has requested the Attorney General to consider their complaint, investigate it and refer the case to a competent court. Radio Mustaqbal said they had enough substantial evidence against the defendants.

We, SJS and SOMA support our colleagues at Radio Mustaqbal and its journalists in their quest for justice. We believe that the only way to stop impunity for the attacks and abuses against journalists and media houses is to prosecute the perpetrators— even if they are powerful government officials.

“Attacks on media and journalists have become the norm. Unfortunately, officials who commit crimes against journalists and media stations roam freely. The 27 April raid on Radio Mustaqbal in Mogadishu remains a serious violation against media freedom in Somalia. Nobody should be above the law and the perpetrators of this crime should not be forgiven. We expect the Attorney General to expediate and take appropriate measures so that those found guilty of this heinous crime can face the court of law,” said Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS).

“The attack on our member radio Mustaqbal Media was not just an attack on a single radio station. It was an attack on the freedom of the media throughout Somalia. We support the case filed by Radio Mustaqbal and we hope the case will be referred to the relevant court and that it will be heard fairly,” said Mohamed Osman Makaran, the Chairperson of Somali Media Association (SOMA).