News from Africa

The Trial of the Somali Journalist, Abdiasis Koronto Started in Mogadishu

Human Rights

Té / 5 February 2013

Somali journalists gathered at the regional court on Saturday morning, February 02, 2013 both to show solidarity and report the trail of the Somali Journalist, Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim (Koronto) who was accused insulting state institution and fabricating a false story, following his interview he conducted with a Somali woman who said that she was raped.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, February 4, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)

The hearing started at 12:35pm local time and the precede judge, Ahmed Adan announced that the court is open and asked the Attorney General, Abdulkadir Mohamed Muse to present witnesses and evidences in support of the charges against the journalist and the four held in connection with the rape case.

The prosecuting attorney who is the Somali Attorney General, Abdulkadir Mohamed Muse presented the interview of the journalist conducted and his job accreditation card provided by Ergo Radio and four witnesses against the alleged rape victim. Though the preceding judge said that "these are not enough for your charges". This is contrary to the earlier claims of the Attorney General following his last week’s media conference in which he declared that the file has been successfully completed.

The Attorney general requested two days to bring more witnesses and evidences and the preceding judge announced that the court is closed and will resume on Tuesday morning, 5 February, 2013 at 8:00am in the morning for the next hearing.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is disappointed about the continued detention of the journalist, which is in detention since January 10 and call for the Somali government to urgently drop the charges against the journalist and respect the freedom of expression and the press.

"Keeping the journalist in jail for a long time, for only interviewing a woman allegedly gang raped by members of the state security and charged for insulting the state institution and fabricating a story, is a matter is great concern among the Somali media practitioners."

Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, "The government must drop the charges and release the journalist and call for respect of the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press, which is currently at stake and bring the journalists’ killers to justice"

Somali journalists are confident that the journalist, Abdiasis Koronto has nothing to do with the alleged charges and reiterated that to interview a victim is not a crime and are very hopeful that Abdiasis be released soon.

The journalist, Abdiasis Koronto was arrested on January 10, 2013 and was accused of interviewing a woman, who alleged being raped by state security forces. The interview has not been published on any media outlet. At the same time, the Somali Police claims that this journalist is the author of a reportage that appeared on Al Jazeera/Universal TV. The police searched Abdulasis’s home twice, took his laptop and digital voice recorder.

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