A court in Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland has sentenced a reporter to two years in jail for what it said was endangering peace and security, a journalists’ rights group said on Saturday. The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said that Abdimalik Muse Oldon was detained in February upon his return from the Somali capital and charged with “anti-national activity and violating the sovereignty and succession of Somaliland.”
NUSOJ said Oldon had gone to Mogadishu to cover the presidential elections. “This sentence is all about cowing independent media into submission to government’s control and it is preposterous to even suggest these journalists represent a danger to peace and security,” it said in a statement. Somaliland government officials were not immediately available for comment.
Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 but is not internationally recognised. It has largely been spared the unrest and insurgency driven by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab in the rest of Somalia. In addition to being targeted by violence, journalists in Somalia are often targeted by officials and by al Shabaab for the content of their work. In 2013, a court in Somaliland sentenced two journalists for what it said was the publication of false news.