Mr Mumin’s seizure and detention follows a public meeting on 10 October 2022, where Mr. Mumin, and other press freedom advocates criticised a broad ban on the dissemination of information concerning Al-Shabab as having a chilling effect on journalists’ ability to report the news in Somalia. In that it has the potential to prevent any reporting which mentions Al-Shabab or the Government actions against the terrorist group. On 11 October 2022 intelligence agents arrested Abdalle Mumin while he was travelling to Nairobi. Mr. Mumin was released on bail on 16 October 2022 only to be re-arrested two days later following an appeal by the Government to revoke his bail. Mr Mumin’s arrest and d detention has been carried out to send a chilling message to the media of Somalia that they are not safe to do their jobs and to stand up against laws that prevent free expression and media freedom in Somalia.
The complaint on behalf of Mr. Mumin contends that his detention is arbitrary as it is not authorised by law or the Somalian Constitution, Article 18 of which protects individuals’ right to freedom of expression. The arrest and detention of Mr Mumin is especially concerning as it violates his rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In particular, the discriminatory nature of the arrest is contrary to his right to equal protection of the law in that the arrest is based upon his role as Secretary General of the SJS and as a journalist (Art. 12 UDHR, Art. 26 ICCPR). The arrest also constitutes a breach of his rights to freedom of movement (Art. 13 UDHR, Art. 12 ICCPR) and freedom of opinion and expression (Art. 19 UDHR, Art. 19 ICCPR).
Justice Abroad’s, Michael Polak, who submitted the communication to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, stated that:
“Mr Abdalle Mumin is a brave and principled press freedom advocate in Somalia. He should be celebrated as someone essential to the development of the country, not persecuted for fulfilling his proper role for the SJS. We call on the international community and UN to demand Abdalle’s immediate release. There is no doubt that Abdalle’s detention is arbitrary and contrary to international law.”
Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) President, Mohamed Ibrahim said,
“Threats, arbitrary arrests, and intimidation of the independent media and union leaders under the pretext of war against Al Shabab constitute a serious violation of constitutional and human rights. Abdalle has been in jail for 11 days for his role in defending the press freedom of the country. Freedom of the press is essential to the development of every healthy and democratic society. We call for the unconditional release of Abdalle and call upon the government to respect freedom of the press which is a basic human right.”
Somali Media Association (SOMA) Secretary General, Mohamed Osman Makaran said,
“The Government’s war against the media and human rights defenders is very alarming but will not deter our commitment to fight for freedom of press and freedom of expression including the freedom of our colleague Abdalle who is being targeted by the Government. We demand the Government to drop the trumped-up charges and free him unconditionally. We call for the Government to respect freedom of press.”
Notes to Editors
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