Somali Journalists Must Be Protected After Third Murder In Two Months, Says Amnesty International

News
February 29, 2012

Somali Journalists Must Be Protected After Third Murder In Two Months, Says Amnesty International

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150

(New York) – Amnesty International said today the killing of a third journalist in two months in Somalia is another stark reminder of the dangers faced by journalists and activists alike in that country.

Abukar Hasan Mohamud Kadaf, the former director of private radio station Somaliweyn, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Tuesday evening in front of his home in the Wadajir district of Mogadishu. He was buried on Wednesday in the capital.

He was reportedly working with a youth and peace organization after Radio Somaliweyn was raided and closed down by the al-Shabab armed group in May 2010.

He is the third journalist to be killed in a targeted attack in the last two months in Mogadishu, despite the city now being under the control of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union forces. At least 25 Somali journalists have been killed in Somalia since 2007, and many others have been injured.

At the London international conference on Somalia last week, the international community highlighted the need for journalists to operate freely and without fear. It called for action to address human rights violations and abuses and committed to focus more on supporting the Somali justice and security sectors.

"The international community should now put these commitments into practice and step up efforts to help rebuild the rule of law in Somalia," said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Afrtca program.

Kagari said:. "Every effort must be made to stop a re-emerging pattern of targeted killings against civil society actors. This includes conducting thorough investigations into the murders, ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials, and re-establishing the rule of law."

Hassan Osman Abdi, director of the Shabelle Media Network, was shot by unidentified men outside his home in the Wadajir district in January 2012 and died of his injuries.

On December 18 last year, Abdisalan Sheik Hassan, a freelance journalist for the Horn Cable TV station and Hamar radio, was shot in the head by a man wearing a government military uniform in the Hamar Jajab district in Mogadishu. He died shortly afterwards.

The year 2008 also saw a wave of attacks on Somali civil society actors: at least 40 Somali human rights activists and humanitarian workers were killed between January and September that year, the majority in targeted attacks. These attacks prompted many activists to flee the country.

No one has been brought to justice for any of these attacks. All parties to the conflict have threatened and attacked journalists and civil society actors, severely restricting freedom of expression.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom and dignity are denied.

For more information, please visit www.amnestyusa.org