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Somalia - Puntland 15 July 2005

Three journalists freed but newspaper stays shut

Abdirisak Shek Adun, the head of independent radio station Somalia TV Network (STN), and his editor in chief, Awale Jama, were freed on 12 July as a result of a decision by the president of the autonomous territory of Puntland, Gen. Adde Muse, to pardon 50 detainees being held in Bossasso’s main prison.

Adun was hospitalised following his release, while STN was able to resume broadcasting. Abdi Farah Nur, the editor of the newspaper Shacab, was meanwhile released on 5 July after more than two weeks in prison. But the government’s closure of his newspaper remains in force.

07.07.05 Two broadcast journalists held illegally since 30 June Reporters Without Borders today condemned the arbitrary detention of Abdirisak Shek Adun, the head of the Somalia TV Network (STN), and Awale Jama, the station’s editor in chief, since 30 June in Bossasso, in the autonomous northeastern region of Puntland. They were arrested after the station interviewed a mayoral candidate.

Their imprisonment is illegal as they were not brought before a judge within 48 hours as required by Puntland’s laws, the press freedom organisation pointed out.

"We consider it completely unacceptable that interviewing a politician results in imprisonment and we call on Puntland’s judicial authorities to let journalists work freely," Reporters Without Borders added.

The deputy police chief said the two detained journalists reported false information. The authorities temporarily closed STN’s premises, forcing the radio and TV station to suspend broadcasting until 3 July. The Somali Journalist Network (SOJON) said Adun was in poor health.

Abdi Farah Nur, the editor of the independent weekly Shacab, is meanwhile still being held. He was arrested on 19 June for publishing articles critical of the Puntland authorities.

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