5th December 2013 16/2013
Human Rights Center strongly condemns the arrest of four journalists detained on 3rd December in Hargeisa. The journalists were arrested while they were participating in peaceful protest organized by journalists to express their outrage on the release of man alleged to have attacked Hubaal newspaper headquarters in 24th April 2013.
On 5th December, Hargeisa Regional Court remanded the four journalists, Hassan Maal Dhidar, Saed Khadar, Abdisalaan Abdirashid and Abdiasis Bashir.
The Police also beaten at the Court Abdirashid Sh. Abdiwahaab Sh. Ibraahim, the head of Foore newspaper, and his camera was confiscated. These acts violated his fundamental freedoms and rights.
Freedom of public demonstration, expression of opinion, press and other media are guaranteed by the constitution of Somaliland. Article 32 of the constitution grants every citizen to have the freedom to organize or participate in any peaceful assembly or demonstration.
Article 25 of the constitution prohibits arresting, searching, or detaining person except when caught in the act of committing the crime or on the issue of a reasoned arrest warrant by a competent judge.
As stated in article 26 of the constitution an accused person is innocent until proven guilty in a court. Therefore, the dignity of the arrested journalists shall be protected and the Police shall treat them well.
Any person who is deprived of his liberty has a right to meet as soon as possible his legal representative, relatives or any other persons he asks for as obliged by article 27 of the constitution. Therefore, the detained journalists have a right to meet lawyers, human rights organizations, relative and any other person they request.
Human Rights Center is concerned the improper manner in which the authorities treat the journalists. The authorities shall know that freedom of the press is a constitutional right which shall be protected as such.
Human Rights Center recommends Somaliland authorities:
1. To immediately release the four journalists;
2. To protect and safeguard the freedom of press and demonstrations;
3. To prosecute before civilian court those accused of committing the attack of Hubaal newspaper.
Ms. Mulaho Mohamed Ali
Spokesperson, Human Rights Center