The secretary-general of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) Abdalle Ahmed Mumin appeared at the Banadir Regional Court on the second hearing in a case that severely impacts media freedom and the safety of the journalists in Somalia.
Mr. Mumin courageously spoke before the court as he posed very serious questions. Mumin asked the court why he was detained without a court warrant on October 11 and why he was held at Godka Jila’ow which is a notorious detention prison despite the Somali government announced to have closed the underground prison.
“Why these three charges were trumped up only after more than 45 days of my detention? Why am I targeted out of four other media organisations that have issued the joint statement?” Mumin added.
Mr. Mumin also revealed personal demands by the Somali deputy minister of information Abdirahman Yusuf al-Adaala including the October 2019 demand to impose fees on social media users and the subscription fees on international media in Somalia.
“Any tariffs or fees must be lawful and through the ministry of finance. We have rejected all these demands and that is why al-Adaala has been targeting me since 2019,” Mr. Mumin added.
In November 2019, Mr. al-Adaala, then acting director general of the ministry of information, suspended two media organisations called Perspective Media and Media Ink. After paying Mr. al-Adaala, the two organisations resumed operations within eight days.
The prosecutor, Farhan Hussein, however, admitted that Abdalle Mumin is a serious writer and has been writing journalistic articles critical to the government.
“I would like to ask the court to silence Mr. Mumin and also force SJS to cease its shaming of the government officials. Any journalist who shames the government officials must be punished,” prosecutor Farhan told the court on Sunday.
He said the December 17 censorship order imposed on the local media by Villa Somalia was right and there was no need to consult the media.
Mr. Mumin, the secretary general of the Somali Journalists Syndicate and a veteran freelance reporter was detained on October 11, 2022 by the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) officers arrested him at Aden Adde International Airport, as he prepared to board a flight for Nairobi a day after he and other media advocates issued a public press release raising concern on a new directive issued by the ministry of information. He was held at the Godka Jila’ow and later transferred to the criminal investigation department. Mumin is currently facing travel ban and his freedom of expression is restricted.
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