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Prison officers refuse to jail Somali journalist sentenced to two months in prison

Prison authorities in Mogadishu have set free journalist Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, after he was sentenced to two months in prison. The Banadir Regional Court sentenced Secretary-General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), Abdalle Ahmed Mumin to two months in jail, on February 13, 2023 on security-related charges.

The presiding judge, Salah Ali Mohamud, cited Article 505 (non-observance of orders of the authorities) of Somalia’s penal code in delivering the ruling. The journalist was initially charged under three articles of the Somali penal code, namely, Article 219 (Bringing the Nation or the State into contempt), Article 321 (Instigation to disobey the laws), and Article 505 (non-observance of orders of the authorities) of the Somali penal code.

However, after the ruling, an unexpected event occurred as Mumin was released shortly after.

In a statement published on their website, the SJS said that, “after delivering the sentence, the judge ordered Abdalle to be handcuffed but the police officers turned down his order. When Abdalle was taken to the Mogadishu Central Prison, the officers there reviewed the verdict letter and found that Abdalle has served more than four months of detention resulting his immediate freedom. Abdalle was then allowed to go free.”

Mumin also confirmed his release in a post on twitter “this morning, Banadir Court judge, who was reading a pre-drafted letter sentenced me to 2 months in jail despite the fact I was detained 5 months ago. To my surprise, when I was taken to #Mogadishu central prison, officers refused to jail me granting my immediate freedom. I went straight to my office to conduct my daily routine. I will continue to be on the forefront of defending press freedom and human rights in #Somalia.”

Mumin’s ordeal started more than 120 days ago when he was arrested on October 11, 2022 at the Aden Adde International Airport in the capital Mogadishu by officers of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA). The media rights advocate was arrested shortly after he published on his Twitter account a CCTV footage, reportedly from the premises of the SJS’ office in Mogadishu the previous night showing security forces trying to break into the office.

While we welcome Mumin’s release, we are disappointed about the court’s ruling and urge the Somali authorities  to bring to an end the repeated violation of Mumin’s rights.

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