The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the arrest and continued detention of journalist Hashim Omar Hassan, a reporter for Shabelle Media Network, who has spent a second day in detention, on unknown charges.
Available information indicates that Hashim Omar Hassan was arrested on Saturday, 3 December 2022 by Galmudug local police on the direct orders of Galmudug President Ahmed Abdi. His family say they have been denied access to Hassan, who reports from Adado district of Galmudug.
NUSOJ and the management of Shabelle Media Network have also been in contact with the Galmudug administration since December 3, but efforts to secure the journalists release have been unsuccessful.
“We condemn the continued detention of journalist Hashim Omar Hassan on charges that cannot be revealed more than 24hours later. We demand for his unconditional release or arraignment before a competent court,” said NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman.
“The failure of the regional administration to reveal the charges on which they are holding the journalists shows that they are non-existent and the detention shows that this move is part of a calculated campaign to suppress media through intimidation,” Osman added.
Adado district police chief Mohamed Adde, who executed the detention order, arrested the reporter at midday on December 3, in Adado district, where the journalist represents Shabelle Television and Radio. It is even more suspicious that Hassan’s family members have been prevented from going to the police station where they could have obtained information about his status.
NUSOJ has in the past observed a pattern of illegal arrests of journalists in Galmudug without court orders and keeping them in detention for days because of their journalistic work and then releasing them without charges. Hashim has been a frequent victim of this tactic.
NUSOJ calls for an end to this regressive practice which is a violation of both Somali laws and international conventions regarding freedom of the press.