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CPJ: US court convicts 2 men of 2012 kidnapping of journalist Michael Scott Moore in Somalia

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Nairobi, March 7, 2023—In response to a U.S. federal court’s conviction of two men, Mohamed Tahlil Mohamed and Abdi Yusu Hassan, in the 2012 hostage-taking of German American journalist Michael Scott Moore, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement welcoming the conviction:

“The conviction of Mohamed Tahlil Mohamed and Abdi Yusuf Hassan in a U.S. court sends a message of hope that justice is possible for journalists who have been attacked, kidnapped, or even killed while reporting in Somalia,” said CPJ Sub-Saharan Africa Representative Muthoki Mumo. “It is high time that Somali journalists can equally find justice at home. Somali authorities must end the high rates of impunity for crimes against the press by ensuring accountability.”

The two men were convicted on February 24 of hostage-taking, conspiracy, providing material support for acts of terrorism, and other crimes that carry potential life sentences, according to the Associated Press, which said they are expected to be sentenced in September. Abdi is a naturalized U.S. citizen and was a Somali government official at the time of Moore’s abduction, and Mohamed worked as a Somali army officer, that report said.

On January 21, 2012, Moore was taken hostage by a group of Somali pirates while on assignment in the country. They released him in September 2014 after receiving a ransom payment.

Previously, in 2018, a Canadian court convicted Ali Omer Ader of participating in the 2008 abduction in Somalia of Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout, Australian photographer Nigel Brennan and their fixer, Abdifatah Mohamed Elmi.

Somalia has topped CPJ’s Global Impunity Index—which spotlights countries with the worst records for prosecuting murderers of journalists—for the past eight years.

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