SJS & SOMA concerned about continued persecution against Goobjoog Journalist

MOGADISHU, Somalia 14 July 2020 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and Somali Media Association (SOMA) are concerned about the continued prosecution against Goobjoog journalist, Abdiaziz Ahmed Gurbiye as the second day of hearing his case took place on Tuesday 14 July, 2020.

The Banadir Regional Court today said it has a jurisdiction to hear the case while declining the preliminary objections mounted by the defense lawyers last week. The Court further asked the Office of the Attorney General (AG) for clarity on the charges against Gurbiye and to declare who were the victims of this case before adjourning the hearing.

We, SJS and SOMA, jointly reiterate that journalist Gurbiye should not be persecuted for doing his job as a journalist. Somali federal authorities should stop muzzling free press and intimidations against journalists.

“Today we have attended the court hearing of the case against Abdiaziz Gurbiye. The court demanded the Attorney General to name who is accusing Gurbiye and I think that is enough to say that this case is baseless. We call for the AG to drop these baseless charges against Gurbiye,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the secretary general of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said.

Gurbiye was first arrested and charged with Article 220 of the Penal Code on 14 April a day after he wrote a Facebook post alleging, “the Somali president had taken away a donated ventilator” from a local hospital which treats Covid-19 patients. He was released on bail on 18 April. But the Attorney General changed the charges, according to a document seen by SJS and SOMA.

“It is very concerning that this case is taking long. Somali federal authorities must not misuse the judiciary. We reject any accusations against journalist Gurbiye,” Mohamed Abduwahab Abdullahi, the secretary general of Somali Media Association (SOMA) said.

SJS and SOMA secured lawyers to defend Mr. Gurbiye before the court of law as the first hearing of the case took place today on 7 July, where representatives from SJS, SOMA, Goobjoog Media Group and journalists attended. The court was adjourned after the defending lawyers opposed the criminal charges brought by the Attorney General’s office and also questioned the court’s jurisdiction to handle, as there were no victims to be mentioned in the