(Nairobi) – Somali authorities should immediately charge or release Daud Abdi Daud, a journalist who has been in custody since February 5, 2013, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 11, he was transferred from police custody to Mogadishu Central Prison. Daud Abdi, who works for Kulmiye Radio, is secretary general of the Somali Media for Environment, Science, Health, and Agriculture.
Credible sources said that following the February 5 sentencing of another journalist, Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, and a woman who had alleged rape by the security forces, Daud Abdi spoke out in court, saying that journalists have the right to interview people. After he reportedly added that he would even seek to interview the president’s wife, the police arrested him. On February 6, the attorney general ordered Daud Abdi’s continued detention at the Police’s Central Investigation Department.
“Detaining Daud Abdi without charge is sending a broader message to journalists to stay silent,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should charge or release him, but they should not be shutting down free expression by jailing journalists and throwing away the key.”
Abdiaziz Abdinur, the journalist convicted along with the alleged rape victim of insulting the government, was sentenced to one year prison in a politically motivated and highly-flawed trial. Human Rights Watch has called for the authorities to exonerate both Abdiaziz Abdinur and the woman, and to release Abdiaziz Abdinur immediately. The woman’s sentence was deferred until she has completed breastfeeding her baby.