Hold Security Forces to Account for Abusing Journalists, says NUSOJ

27 June 2019

National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has today called on the Federal Government of Somalia to act swiftly to ensure security forces are held to account for the serious rights violations against journalists.

A member of Somali National Army (SNA), Salad Dhumow had beaten up defenceless journalist, Abdulkadir Ahmed Mohamed, by throwing kicks and punches on Tuesday night (25 June 2019). Salad Dhumow is particularly attached to the Presidential Guard.

The journalist who works with Voice of Benadir Regional administration, a local FM radio run by Mogadishu municipality, was part of the journalists covering commemoration of Somalia independence Day. He has suffered pain around kidneys and bruises as a result of the torture.

The video went viral, and NUSOJ expressed anger and outrage at what many Somalis called "an abuse of authority" by the errant soldier. The union demanded an appropriate action forms the government over these abuses.

Villa Somalia, Somalia State House, officially confirmed that the errant soldier was arrested and the victim journalist will receive justice. “To the journalist, be assured of justice. Violation of press freedom is no longer tolerable in Somalia,” said Abdinur Mohamed Ahmed, Director of Communications of the Presidency of Somalia.

“Since the incident happened, we have been working relentlessly with the relevant authorities on how Abdulkadir Ahmed Mohamed can find justice. NUSOJ is delighted to hear about the arrest of Salad Dhumoow, and the ongoing investigation into the incident” said Omar Faruk Osman, Secretary general of NUSOJ.

NUSOJ welcomes the swift action of the Somali government over its appeal, and its confident that the effort by the union in seeking justice for Abdulkadir Ahmed Mohamed would bear fruit, as it shows the commitment on the side of the government to fight impunity.

“While steps towards arresting and investigation are important, authorities should go beyond by ensuring prosecution in fair and open trials of the military officers implicated in beatings and other abuses of journalists to demonstrate genuine commitment to justice,” said Osman.

Impunity for crimes of violence against journalists has always been the norm in Somalia until two soldiers were arrested on 24 March following orders from Villa Somalia and placed in preventive detention on charges of “torture” and “threats” brought by the armed forces attorney-general in connection with their treatment of two reporters on 18 February.

NUSOJ urges the Federal Government of Somalia to take deterrent measures by instructing the security forces, regardless of their rank, to not abuse journalists, as any abusive action may breed a culture of impunity that can only lead to increased human rights violations against journalists.

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