Wednesday, February 13, 2013
A Somali journalist was freed Tuesday following a week in custody
after he criticised the jailing of a reporter and a source who said she
was raped by security forces, colleagues said.
Daud Abdi Daud, who
works for Radio Kulmiye, was arrested on February 5 shortly after
speaking out at the sentencing for one year of reporter Abdiaziz
Abdinuur and the alleged rape victim he interviewed.
Watch, quoting credible sources, said Daud was arrested after "saying
that journalists have the right to interview people".
HRW added that Daud was transferred from police custody to the central prison in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Monday.
to the National Union of Somali Journalists, Daud was released on
Tuesday afternoon, the day Abdinuur's lawyers lodged an appeal.
The initial case sparked widespread criticism, with United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon saying he was "deeply disappointed".
since then rights groups and Somalia's journalist union have warned
security forces have continued to crack down on the media.
Ibrahim, head of the journalist union, said he was "outraged by the
arbitrary arrests, threats and intimidations" against journalists
following the case, and called for Abdinuur's conviction to be quashed.
and the woman were each sentenced to a year in jail for insulting state
institutions, even though the journalist did not broadcast a story
about the case.
The court deemed the woman's story to be false
after a midwife conducted a "finger test" to see if she had been raped, a
practice HRW said was an "unscientific and degrading practice that has
long been discredited".
Amnesty International, the Committee to
Protect Journalists and HRW said in a joint statement that the initial
case is "linked to increasing media attention given to the high levels
of rape", including by security forces, in Somalia.
Daud Abdi without charge is sending a broader message to journalists to
stay silent," Leslie Lefkow, HRW's deputy Africa director, said in a
statement on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon on Tuesday
stressed his government's "committment to a free press", and urged that
legal processes be followed correctly in the detention of Daud, and the
expected appeal cases of Abdinuur and the woman.
"We have an
independent judiciary in Somalia and although the government cannot and
must not be involved in the administration of justice, I am urging due
process be followed at all times," Shirdon said in a statement.
has been ravaged by conflict since 1991, but a new UN-backed government
took power in September ending eight years of transitional rule by a
Many have said the new government
offers the most serious hope for stability since the fall of dictator
Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.