The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) welcomes today’s arrest of the two soldiers who stand accused for violently attacking and seriously wounding journalist Ahmed Omar Nur on 21 August 2022 while carrying out his journalistic duties during the Hayat Hotel siege.
Today’s arrest of the suspects comes after Mogadishu’s Banadir Regional Court had issued an arrest warrant on 11 September 2022 against the two Haram’ad police officers namely Hashim Sharif Mohamed and Mohamed Abdi Omar.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) that requested the arrest warrant to be issued against the suspects after NUSOJ filed a legal complaint against the suspects charged the accused for committing crimes under clause 2 (grievous hurt) of article 440 of the Penal Code of Somalia. NUSOJ’s application, which was addressed to OAG’s special prosecutor for crimes committed against journalists, came after the suspects were unlawfully released by the Crimes Investigations Department (CID).
NUSOJ is however extremely disturbed by the attempts made by senior police officials to surreptitiously cover up this serious crime by pressurising the victim journalist Ahmed Omar Nur to make clandestine deals with the accused soldiers so that the court case does not proceed.
Specifically, the union strongly warns against the senior leadership of the Somali Police Force, and more specifically the senior officers of Banadir Regional Police and Haram’ad police unit to cease forthwith the ongoing pressure on the victim journalist as they seem to be interested to force the journalist to make secret deals. The involved police officers whom we know their names and ranks must let justice take its course.
Any police official who is involved in this game of covering up this crime is trying to circumvent justice and is denying the victim journalist access to the mechanisms of justice. Clearly, anyone who is found doing this should be named and shamed publicly for facilitating impunity. There are no shortcuts to justice. And if anything happens to the victim journalist, they will be held responsible.
NUSOJ and the victim journalist Ahmed Omar Nur are expressing appreciation to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Ministers and senior officials at Villa Somalia for closely following this case and stressing that criminal justice must take its course, and the avenue of accountability must be pursued.
If found guilty, the accused soldiers who are expected to appear before Banadir Regional Court tomorrow are facing imprisonment of three (3) to seven (7) years.