On Thursday, 19 October 2017, the European Union trademark court of Alicante in Spain decreed admissible judicial action against Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim Nur, Moalimuu, based on claims of counterfeiting and misappropriating trademark of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).
The EU court in Alicante with jurisdiction to deal with cases of counterfeiting trademarks and infringing rights of rightful owners of trademarks which are protected by the European Union regulations, had declared that the trademark infringement legal action against Mohamed Ibrahim Nur, Moalimuu, is admissible and stated that it has competent European Union jurisdiction to proceed further with his indictment.
Acting on the instructions of NUSOJ Secretary General, Omar Faruk Osman, issued on behalf of NUSOJ, prosecuting legal team officially indicted Mohamed Ibrahim at the court alleging that is impersonating and misappropriating NUSOJ which he does not belong to; counterfeiting an internationally protected trademark of NUSOJ by fraudulently misusing the name of the union to deceive or cause confusion, which are punishable under the European laws.
Now that Mohamed Ibrahim is officially indicted in a court of law and wanted by a justice system that his sponsors in Somalia cannot reach, manipulate and disregard, he has to face the full force of the law and gets to pay the price he earned through fraudulent representation.
Following international registration of its trademark name, NUSOJ has now legal powers to protect its name and institutional identity from anyone who has sought to appropriate it for malicious or political reasons. The Somali government, particularly the Ministry of Information, abused the rights of Somali journalists who are members of NUSOJ and attempted to hijack the union and install its own puppets to masquerade as representatives of the union.
Recently, Twitter removed four fake twitter accounts run by the same Mohamed Ibrahim as NUSOJ social media accounts, after it recognized that they constitute clear violations of Twitter rules concerning trademarks.
In February 2016, the Supreme Court of Somalia ruled that the Ministries of Information and Labour violated the rights of leadership and members of NUSOJ, and recognized in law the leadership that the government sought to depose. In response, government officials worked hard to remove the chief justice that made this landmark ruling through unconstitutional means and even started to turn on the new chief justice.
The UN’s specialised labour agency with competence to adjudicate violations of freedom of association, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) found Somali government guilty for grave violations of freedom of association committed against NUSOJ and confirmed the legitimacy of the leadership of NUSOJ under Mr. Omar Faruk Osman.
“We are winning this important battle, not just for NUSOJ and its members, as we expose government officials who would stop at nothing, even dare to remove judges, disobey ILO ruling and entertaining fraudulent impersonation with impunity but also for all the civic society groups in this country as we are showing them the way how they can defend their rights” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.
“We are prepared to take legal action against any entity that uses our union’s name without our authorisation. Anyone who entertained this fraudulent representation, as well as anyone who allowed himself to be used will open themselves to litigation,” added Osman.
NUSOJ expresses its sincere appreciations to sister journalists’ unions who have provided solidarity in this struggle against institutionalized oppression and fraudulent representation.
Given the prevalent impunity in the country, the union is in consultations with its supporters and legal team to institute legal action outside Somalia against those holding positions in the Somali government who committed rights abuses against members and leaders of the union.