GOOBJOOG NEWS|NAIROBI:Sahan Research, whose founder Matt Bryden was sentenced in absentia to five year in Mogadishu has rejected the ruling as a ‘farcial, politically motivated show trial.’
Sahan said it trial was at the behest of Villa Somalia and aimed at diverting attention on failures of thr out going President Mohamed Farmaajo.
The policy think tank questioned the rationale of the verdict whose evidence was publicly adduced not the content of the charges made known to Sahan nor its founder Matt Bryden.
“The prosecutor offered no discovery of evidence and Sahan was given no opportunity to rebutt the charges,” Sahan said in a statement.
Banaadir Regional Court in Mogadishu Tuesday sentenced Bryden in absentia to 5 years in prison on a charge of espionage. The office of the Somali attorney said that Sahan divulged Somalia National Army “secrets”, a claim categorically rejected by Sahan.
Sahan has accused Villa Somalia of pressing trumped-up charges against the institution claiming that the said secrets have not been divulged to them nor the Somali police and that no official summons have been served to them.
Sahan has further accused Somalia’s outgoing president for cracking down on any dissenting voice to his dictatorial regime, pointing out the case of VOA’s journalist, Harun Maruf who was threatened with legal action for his hard-hitting investigative reporting which touched on the ills of the government.
Sahan has said it will appeal the decision of the court.The Federal Government banned Sahan Research from the country in 2018 and declared Bryden persona non grata.