The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has today demanded the immediate and unconditional release of broadcast journalist Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed who has been in police custody since 28 December 2017.

On Sunday, 7 January 2018, a court in Jowhar, provisional capital of Hirshabelle Regional State of Somalia, dismissed charges presented by the police as “unsubstantiated” assertions with “unsatisfactory evidences”. The police, however, said they want to detain Ahmed for 15 days more “to collect more evidences”.

On Saturday, 6 January 2018, Colonel Adan Yarow Hussein, commander of Regional Police Division, held a press conference in which is plainly accusing journalist Ahmed, who is widely known ShaShaa, for “swindling money collected for victims of 14 October 2017 terror attack” in Mogadishu.

On 3 January 2018, the Jowhar court ruled the police to release Ahmed on bail but the police refused in what is believed to be political pressure from higher officials of the Regional Administration and individuals close to regional political leaders who feel unhappy about the work of journalist Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed (ShaShaa), who is the editor-in-chief of City FM and reporter of Nairobi-based RTN television.

NUSOJ rejects the accusations by the police against Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed as “groundless charges” and constitutes a deliberate effort to trick the court and the general public into believing a false accusation that would smear Ahmed and ultimately get him convicted to a crime he never committed.

“Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed has committed no crime to be pursued by the police, and the insistence of the police to keep him in custody is a further proof that political operatives are working hard to discredit him by elaborate means to get him punished for his professional independence and critical reporting of the regional administration,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

NUSOJ calls upon the Hirshabelle Regional Administration to end the smear campaign against Ahmed, contain undue powers of the police which allow them to disregard court orders and allow journalists in City FM to operate freely and without any repercussions for their independent reporting.

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