MOGADISHU – On the occasion of International Day for Universal Access to Information, the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) is alarmed by the forcible transfer of our colleague journalist, Mohamed Ibrahim Bulbul, from Hamar Jajab police station to Mogadishu Central Prison by armed officers affiliated with the Somali police and the national intelligence on Thursday 28 September.
This troubling development follows after the judge at Banadir Regional Court on Monday, September 25, dismissed all the seven charges pressed by the Office of the Attorney General against Bulbul. The judge, in alignment with a preliminary objection presented by SJS legal team, underscored that journalism is not a crime. Bulbul, who is also SJS Secretary of Information and Human Rights, has been held incommunicado detention since 17 August 2023 after reporting allegation of corruption involving Somali police participating in the European Union Capacity Building (EUCAP) supported training.
Given the dismissal of the charges, we had anticipated Bulbul’s release; however, it is disheartening to observe that certain individuals are persistently subjecting our colleague to what appears to be unwarranted harassment.
“Since Monday, after the court judge dismissed the charges brought by the Attorney General, no official charges have been presented. We had anticipated our colleague Bulbul’s release. Regrettably, in disregard of the rule of law, those who are targeting Bulbul have opted to subject him to harassment, threats, and suffering,” said SJS Secretary-General Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, “If it holds any significance, the ongoing persecution of Bulbul and his transfer to a maximum-security prison on International Day for Universal Access to Information signals a bleak future for press freedom in Somalia.”
“We vehemently condemn the ongoing harassment and unlawful incommunicado detention of Mohamed Bulbul, who is solely targeted for his journalism work in exposing police corruption. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of our colleague,” Mr. Mumin.
Despite the persistent persecution and threats, SJS remains steadfast in its commitment to championing press freedom and freedom of expression, recognizing them as essential components of our society’s human rights.