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AFEX condemns the actions of the Somali Government against Somali Journalists Syndicate

The African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) condemns the freezing of the bank account of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and calls on the Somali government to reverse its order to freeze the bank accounts of the media rights group.

On April 13, 2024, the Somali Journalists Syndicate SJS received an email notification from their bankers, Premier Bank indicating that their (SJS) bank accounts had been “frozen” following a letter issued by the Banadir Regional Court located in the capital, Mogadishu. The said letter ordered an investigation into the organisation’s financial transactions.

According to a report by SJS, the court letter dated April 9 2024, and signed by Judge Shueyb Malin Adan stated that SJS was not a registered organisation, and ordered an investigation led by the Office of the Attorney General into individuals involved in the SJS accounts, including SJS Secretary-General Abdalle Ahmed Mumin.

The SJS reportedly believes that this action by Somali authorities is in connection to a recent submission of a legal case against the Somali Government to the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of the SJS and its Secretary-General Abdalle Ahmed Mumin.

The legal case against the Somali government is about the alarming circumstances surrounding the abduction-style detention, persecution, torture, and ill-treatment suffered by Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, at the hands of Somali authorities in Mogadishu.

Journalist Abdalle Ahmed Mumin and co-founder of the SJS since October 2022 has been on the radar of Somali state security forces in reprisal for his work. Mumin was thrice arbitrarily arrested, detained, and tortured by Somali state security forces. His continuous detention in 2023 was condemned by AFEX.

This step taken by Somali state authorities to freeze the bank accounts of the SJS is a clear retaliation and a deliberate attempt to frustrate the activities of the SJS.

AFEX therefore urges the authorities to immediately unfreeze the bank accounts of the SJS. We also urge the authorities to restore journalist Mumin’s rights and freedoms that have been curtailed over the years.

AFEX further urges the Somali Government to be tolerant of divergent views and respect freedom of expression, especially press freedom, and implement safeguards to prevent abuse and torture by security agents who are responsible for the protection of lives.

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