Puntland Military Court summons director of Radio Daljir in an attempt to clamp down free press

MOGADISHU, Somalia, 27 September, 2019: Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) is shocked to learn the order of summon against the director of Radio Daljir, Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed (also known as Tall Man) by Puntland’s Supreme Court of Armies and Weight Crimes issued on 24 September, 2019.

The Court letter refers another order issued on 23 September, 2019 by the Attorney General of the Supreme Court of Armies and Weight Crimes which summoned the radio director to appear before the Court in Garowe on Saturday 28 September, 2019 ‘for questioning’ in relation to accusations under the Somali Penal Code articles of: (382) “Falsification Committed by Persons Entrusted with Public Service”; (287) “False Accusations”; and (333) “Causing Impediments to Protection of Public Safety”.

Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) calls Puntland’s Military Court officials to stop this summon which is a complete disregard to the Puntland Constitution and the Federal Constitution.

Article  87 (1) of Puntland State Constitution states “The Armed Forces Court is special for the crimes committed by the members of the Armed Forces only and their equivalents”.

“Authorities in Puntland are trying to turn their knives to the journalists. A military court cannot summon a civilian journalist. This summoning should be immediately revoked,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said.

The summons follows multiple raids by Puntland Police against Radio Daljir’s studios in Garowe and Bosaso last week after the radio station reported the death of a prisoner as a result of an alleged torture by the police. The police also briefly shut down the radio transmitter in Bosaso on 16 September.

“Journalists should be able to investigate and report stories of public interest including wrongdoings of those in power without fear.  We call for Puntland authorities to stop ongoing harassment and intimidations aimed to stifle journalists in the exercise of their mission to inform the public,” adds Mr. Mumin.

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