Journalist’s organisations in the country have lauded the dismissal of the case against Goobjoog Media Group journalist Ali Adan Mumin but raised concern over the court’s decision to hold him for an extra day.
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) both of which hired lawyers to represent Mumin welcomed the Banaadir Regional Court’s decision to quash the case.
“NUSOJ concerns that the journalist Ali Aden Mumin remains in custody for another day but we fully respect the judge’s decision on the case, “ Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu Secretary General of National Union of Somali Journalists said. “We attended to listen to the case ruling in the court with defense lawyers of the journalist hired by NUSOJ” Moalimuu added.
Moalimuu said the suppression of media through the arrest of journalists is tantamount to eroding the process of democracy in the country noting journalists in Somalia had been instrumental in promoting democracy and rule of law.
According to lawyer Abdirahman Hassan Omar who hired by SJS to represent Mumin, the charges against the journalist did not have any ground in law.
“All the charges presented by the State Attorney General were absurd,” said lawyer Osman “Since the Court has dismissed all the charges against the journalist it is unlawful to keep him in jail. He should be released immediately.”
SJS also expressed dismay by the court’s decision to hold Mumin longer despite dropping charges against him.
“It’s appalling to press charges against journalists over only expressing their opinions, which is a basic constitutional right” SJS said, “We call upon the Somali authorities to immediately release our colleague Ali Adan Mumin, since the court of law dismissed all charges against him.”
Attorney General’s office presented five charges under the Penal Code Articles of: 215 (Spreading Propaganda against the Nation); 219 (Disrespecting the Nation and the State); 220 (Insulting and Tarnishing the Character of the President); 267 (Violation against the Work of a Public Office) and Article 268 which alleges of Insulting a Public Officer.
But the court dismissed the cases and ordered the release of Mumin.
SJS called on public officials to be tolerant as they were not exempt from criticism.
“Journalist should not fear reprisals even after they question and criticize officials including police officers. It is the work of journalists to question and challenge all officials for the public interest,” SJS adds.
Meanwhile, Bulsho TV correspondent Abdirahman Keyse Tungub was released yesterday after being held in Las’anod prison for 16 days.
According to SJS, Tungub is still under medication following a leg injury resulted by shrapnel from a gunshot by the police on the day of his arrest.