02 June, 2013
Somaliland:The arrest of Abdirashid Muhumed Qalinle violates the freedom of expression, and he must be immediately released.
Abdirashid Muhumed Qalinle, cartoonist, has been arrested in Gebiley Somaliland, today, 2nd June 2013. Abdirashid, a prominent cartoonist, has been accused of cartoon he recently published on allegedly mismanagement of food aid. Gebiley is town located about 50KM west form Hargeisa.
Every citizen has the freedom to express his opinions orally, visually, artistically or in writing or in any other way as stipulated in article 32 of Somaliland constitution. Suppression of person for exercising his/her freedom of expression is prohibited by the constitution.
Additionally, four persons who gave interview on allegedly mismanaged food aid to Foore newspaper have been arrested in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. Furthermore, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has summoned the reporter who interviewed the men.
These acts suppress the press whose independence is guaranteed by the constitution and hide information which the citizens have a right to know in order the actions of the authorities become transparent and accountable. The two incidents have in common that both involved allegations of mismanaged food aid that were intended to needy people.
It is an obligation to the authorities to respect the constitution. Freedom of expression is one of the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.
It was 24th June 2013 when gunmen attacked the office of Hubal newspaper in Hargeisa. The Police did not publicize any investigation results pointing out who was behind this raid, and calls for independent investigation were not given an intention.
All of these events raise concern on the situation in which Somaliland journalists work.
Human Rights Center recommends to the government authorities:
1. To immediately release Abdirashid Muhumed Qalinle,
2. To immediately release the four men arrested for giving interview to Foorenewspaper, and
3. To conduct investigation independent from the Police on the attack ofHubaal newspaper office.
Guleid Ahmed Jama
Chairperson, Human Rights Center
+252 (0) 63 4468227
Human Rights Center
Headquarters: Hargeisa Somaliland Tel: 063 4468227 or 4472011 E-mail:email@example.com