Amnesty International Demands International Help to Re-Establish Rule of Law in Somalia
(New York) – Amnesty International demanded today that Somali authorities and the international community take action to reestablish the rule of law in Somalia, following the killing of a popular radio and television comedian and satirist, who was shot to death outside his home on Tuesday.
Abdi Jeylani Malaq 'Marshale,' a popular comedian, was shot and killed by two men armed with pistols as he entered his home at about 5:30 p.m. in the Waberi district of Mogadishu. He was buried Wednesday in the capital.
The motives for his killing remain unclear. 'Marshale' previously received death threats from al-Shabab, the Islamist armed group fighting against Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government, for producing and broadcasting satirical programs for the Somali Radio Kulmiye and Universal TV.
"Amnesty International is shocked not only by the continuing pattern of targeted attacks against media, but also at the inaction of the Somali authorities to protect them and to investigate these attacks seriously," said Bénédicte Goderiaux, Somalia researcher at Amnesty International.
"Not a single person has been brought to justice for the killings of journalists in Somalia this year, nor in previous years. The Somali authorities must conduct thorough investigations into the killings, ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials and address the widespread impunity which exists in Somalia. The international community should step up efforts to help re-establish the rule of law and ensure accountability for the numerous crimes under international law committed in Somalia."
'Marshale' is the eighth person working in the media to be killed in a targeted attack in Somalia since December 2011. Several journalists have also narrowly escaped assassination attempts this year.
The National Constituent Assembly in Mogadishu approved a draft Provisional Constitution for Somalia Wednesday – one of the steps agreed between the Somali transitional authorities and the international community to end the transitional period in the country. The rights to life, freedom of expression and the press are guaranteed in the Provisional Constitution, but Amnesty International said more must be done to make these guarantees a reality.
"There are currently no mechanisms in place for media workers in Somalia to report threats and to get advice on improving their safety," Goderiaux said. "Somali media workers, who continue to risk their lives, should be fully consulted by the Somali authorities and the international community over ways to improve their protection."
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, truth and dignity are denied.