The early morning session chaired by the court chairman Salah Ali Mohamud heard the defense lawyers but later heard a counter-argument by the deputy attorney general Farhan Hussein, a former Al Itihaad al Islamiya fighter in the Ethiopian-Somali region.
The court’s Monday hearing was not live-streamed due to concerns raised by the ministry of information as the case, which is now the longest ever press freedom related one had got unwavering public interest.
In his argument, lawyer Ali Halane, one of the defense lawyers crashed all the three charges against the secretary-general of the Somali Journalists Syndicate Abdalle Ahmed Mumin. Lawyer Halane also made his strong point to describe Mr. Mumin’s professional journalism career and his hard work and being a family man.
“Abdalle Mumin is a husband, a father and the only bread-winner of nine beautiful children. He is a respected defender of media freedom and the human rights in Somalia that almost everybody of our society respects him,” the lawyer added.
The defense lawyers reiterated that it is evident to the court that there is no crime in the ongoing case as the requested the regional court to immediately grant Mr. Mumin’s freedom and allow him to get full reparations for the rights violations he went through in the course of five months now.
The lawyers also torn down the October 8, 2022 directive which is now described as “a unilateral decision’ issued by a single person and has no legal meaning.
“A deputy minister can not himself alone issue a directive that contravenes our constitution. We request this court to nullify the October 8, 2022 statement by Abdirahman Al-Adaala since it is unlawful single-man decision,” lawyer Abdinasir pointed.
However, the court was left in shock after the government’s deputy attorney general, Farhan Hussein, started throwing derogatory comments in response to the lawyers’ defense statement. He called the defense lawyers as “cheap propagandists”.
Mr. Farhan then asked about the funders of the Somali Journalists Syndicate.
“Abdalle Mumin and SJS are the ones who provide support to journalists who are under threat. But the question is who is funding SJS? It is the western infidels who are supporting SJS to shame the Somali government,” deputy attorney general, Farhan shouted.
flabbergasted court judge did not stop the deputy attorney from making derogatory remarks. However, one of the defense lawyers later told the judge that it was unfortunate that a government attorney has used words “similar to those used by the terror groups when referring western countries”.
As the country heavily relies on foreign aid, the majority of Somali federal government’s 2023 budget estimated (70%) will be provided by international donors, which are majority westerners, including the World Bank that provide the government financial backing.
The Banadir Regional Court is expected to issue its decision on this case in the coming weeks.