Military court executes former Al-Shabaab journo over murder of journalist

Somali military court on Monday executed a former Al-Shabaab journalist for the murder of a journalist killed in 2010 barely two days after the same court executed two Al-Shabaab members for murder of  a female journalist who worked for state media.

Hassan Hanafi assisted the Islamist militant group by identifying possible targets amongst journalists between 2007 and 2011 and participated in the killing at least five journalists, the court heard.

The court however found that Hanafi, 28, planned and the killed Sheikh Noor Abkay , the journalist working for the state owned Radio Mogadishu on 4th May 2010.

The execution by firing squad occurred at a field in General Kahiye Police Academy in Mogadishu.

In press statement Somali military court, said the man had finally faced justice.

“Hanafi was found guilty of murdering Sheikh Noor Abkay, who was killed on 4th May 2010,” read the statement.

On 26th March a military court in Mogadishu upheld the sentence of Hassan Hanafi and said was found guilty of direct or indirect involvement in the killing five journalists on behalf of Al-Shabaab.

Chairman of the Somali military court in Mogadishu, Liban Ali  Yarow, said the court upheld the death sentence by another military court earlier this month.

“He will be put to death as soon as possible,” said the court.

The 30-year-old who was arrested in neighbouring Kenya in 2015 and then returned to Somalia for trial said he joined Al-Shabaab in 2008 when he was working as a journalist for a local Somali broadcaster called Radio IQK before joining Radio Andalus, an Al-Shabaab mouthpiece in Somalia.

Abdirisak Mohamed Barow, 28 and Hassan-Nur Ali Farah, 37 were executed  at a police academy in Mogadishu on Saturday after they were found guilty of killing female journalist Hinda Haji Mohamed in December.

The defendants had appealed the first ruling but the military court upheld the verdicts which had first been passed on February 25.

Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists to operate, with some attacks believed to be linked to score-settling among the multiple factions in power, as well as by Al-Shabaab.

Somalia ranks at the top of Committe to Protect Journalist’s, CPJ Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go unpunished. CPJ has documented the murders of 41 journalists in Somalia since 1992.

Somalia ranked 172 out of 180 countries for press freedom. Mohamed was the 38th journalist killed doing his job in the country since 2010.

Al-shabaab  fighters have carried out repeated attacks in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya as part of their fight to overthrow the country’s internationally-backed government, as well as the African Union troops supporting it, which include Kenyan soldiers.

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