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2 journalists released after 68 days in prison, NUSOJ calls on authorities to drop charges

21 October 2014 

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) welcomes the release on bail of two journalists of Shabelle Media Network and calls on authorities to free the 2 other journalists still behind bars.
Abdimalik Yusuf, Chairman of Shabelle Media Network, and Ahmed Abdi Hassan, deputy editor of Radio Shabelle were freed on bail after the Deputy Attorney General Mohamed Hassan today stated that the two journalists are facing charges of violating 320 and 321 of penal code. The charges are: Incitement to commit a crime (Article 320 of Penal Code) and Incitement to disobey the law (Article 321 of Penal Code). The previous six charges against the journalists were apparently reduced into 2 charges for the case of Yusuf and Hassan.
“We are relieved that these two journalists Abdimalik Yusuf and Ahmed Abdi Hassan are free. Judiciary authorities must now continue along this path and release remaining two journalists behind bars,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.
During today’s trial, the office of attorney general asked for more time to prepare the case against Yusuf and Hassan, but the lawyers of the journalists asked for bail, which was signed by two elders in Mogadishu as grantors.
Initially four Shabelle Media Network journalists were supposed to appear the court today. But the Attorney General office decided yesterday afternoon to bring only 2 at the court today while the remaining two will be brought to court for undetermined period.
“The authorities must release remaining two journalists immediately and unconditionally, and drop all charges against the four, including those released on bail. Journalism is not a crime, and civilians, including journalists, should never face trial because of exercising their right to freedom of expression”.
In a hearing at Banadir Regional Court in Mogadishu on 4 September 2014, the office of the Attorney General officially charged the journalists of violating articles 184, 220, 231, 320, 321 and 328 of Somali Penal code. 
Shabelle Media Network journalists were arrested on 15 August. They were charged on 4 Septemberand transferred from detention centre at National Intelligence and Security (Agency) and transferred to Mogadishu’s central prison.

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