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CPJ: CPJ condemns new arrest of Somali journalist Abdalle Ahmed Mumin

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Nairobi, February 23, 2023 – In response to news reports that intelligence agents and police officers arrested freelance journalist and press freedom advocate Abdalle Ahmed Mumin on Thursday at a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“Somali officials are demonstrating a disgraceful willingness to abuse legal processes to silence an outspoken reporter and press freedom advocate,” said Muthoki Mumo, CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative. “Abdalle Ahmed Mumin should be released without delay, those officials responsible for his ongoing persecution should be held individually accountable, and Somalia’s international partners should denounce this arrest as an act of aggression against press freedom.”

Officers arrested Abdalle during a public meeting convened by a senatorial committee, during which Abdalle was invited to speak, and did not show a warrant or explain why they were arresting him, according to media reports and Mohamed Ibrahim, president of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), a local media rights group that Abdalle cofounded and works at as secretary general. Abdalle was transferred to the central prison in Mogadishu.

On February 13, Abdalle was sentenced to two months in prison following a conviction of disobeying government orders, but he has been living in a state of legal limbo after prison officials refused to take him into custody, citing an interpretation of the law that would mean he had already served the prison time, according to a copy of the judgment reviewed by CPJ, a report by the U.S. Congress-funded Voice of America, and an SJS statement.

This is the latest chapter in four months of judicial harassment experienced by Abdalle since October 2022, after he voiced concern over a government directive on coverage of extremism that has the potential to censor the work of journalists.

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