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Somalia / Journalists' leader arrested, registration of media houses suspended

By National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
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MOGADISHU, Somalia, December 8, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) denounces the arrest and brief detention of Hassan Mohamed Yusuf, Chairman of Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA).

Yusuf was arrested on Wednesday, 7 December, around 09:40am inside Hargeisa District Court by police from Somaliland's Criminal Investigations Department (CID), led by colonel Dahir Abrar Muse, while he was attending hearing of defamation case against him and Hargeisa Star newspaper where Yusuf used to be Editor-in-chief.

The complainant is Somaliland's Minister for Presidential Affairs Mr Hersi Haji Ali Hassan who claims that he was “defamed” after the newspaper reportedly published last year an article on misappropriation of half a million US dollar by the Minister. Yusuf refuses the responsibility of the publication of this article, as he was that time out of the Country for medical reasons in Djibouti

NUSOJ was reliably informed that Somaliland Attorney General Hassan Adan ordered arrest of SOLJA chairman after the association strongly condemned Aden's recent decision to temporarily suspend the registration of new private media houses in Somaliland.

“The continuation of defamation cases against journalists in Somaliland is a major obstacle for free press. We denounce the arrest and detention of Hassan Mohamed Yusuf,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

Hassan Mohamed Yusuf, who currently works for Radio Hargeisa, was freed after more than 2 hours of detention at the CID headquarters, according to fellow journalists.

NUSOJ joins SOLJA in demanding the end of suspension of registration of new private media houses by Somaliland's Attorney General.