Two journalists in northern Somalia’s self-declared independent Somaliland region have been sentenced to three years in jail for false reports and defaming the government, reports have said, as rights groups condemned the sentence.
Yusuf Abdi Gabobe, owner of the Haatuf Media Network and its editor Ahmed Ali Egeh were sentenced to jail for “spreading false information and defaming government officials,” according to media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Gadobe was arrested and held in custody earlier this month, but Egeh is reported to have gone into hiding.
The Hataaf network publishes two newspapers, Hataaf and the English-langauge Somaliland Times.
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) “condemns in the strongest terms possible to the harsh sentence handed down to two journalists,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.
- After Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Liquor Baron Vijay Mallya’s Twitter Account Hacked
- Find Out What PM Narendra Modi Told Cabinet Over Demonetisation Decision
- Home Minister Rajnath Singh Assures Safety Of All Tourists Stranded On Havelock Island
- Government To Waive Service Tax On Debit, Credit Card Transactions Of Up To Rs 2,000
- President Pranab Mukherjee Criticises Parliament Disruptions Over Demonetisation
- Pakistan International Airlines Flight Carrying Over 40 Passenger On Board Crashes
- Shah Rukh Khan On Raees Clash With Kaabil: It’s Impossible To Have A Solo Release In India
- US-President Elect Donald Trump Named TIME’s Person Of The Year 2016
- O. Panneerselvam: 10 Things You Need To Know
- PM Narendra Modi Slams Opposition For Not Letting Parliament Function
- Nawazuddin Siddiqui On Working In Raees: Was Nervous To Shoot With Shah Rukh Khan
- Bathinda Dancer Murder: Video Showing Accused Opening Fire At Marriage
- 5 Lesser Known Facts About Sasikala Natarajan
- Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor’s Delhi Home Burgled: Here’s What Happened
- Reserve Bank Of India Keeps Repo Rate Unchanged Post Demonetisation
“The authorities are breaking their own laws by giving these journalists jail terms, because press offences are no longer punishable by imprisonment,” RSF’s Africa chief Clea Kahn-Sriber said.
“This is a witch-hunt against journalists who just did their duty to report the news.”
The newspaper licences were also revoked, and the two men were also fined some 4,000 dollars each, RSF added.
“We call upon the Somaliland authorities to quash the verdict and free the journalists, and allow the newspapers to resume operations,” NUSOJ secretary general Mohamed Ibrahim said.
Somaliland, a former British protectorate, broke away from Somalia in 1991, the year the rest of the Horn of Africa nation erupted into all-out civil war.
Somalia, especially the war-torn south, is one of most dangerous countries for reporters.
Last week prominent journalist Yusuf Keynan was killed by a car bomb in the capital Mogadishu.