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Somalia17 January 2008

BBC stringer freed after being held for a few hours

Ayanle Hussein Abdi, a stringer with the BBC’s Somali-language service, was freed yesterday evening after being held for several hours.

17.01.08 - A BBC stringer arrested on orders of provincial governor

Reporters Without Borders today protested at the arrest and detention yesterday of a stringer with the BBC Somali service, Ayanle Hussein Abdi.

The worldwide press freedom organisation condemned the impunity with which the Somali Transitional Federal Government and provincial governors unfairly arrest journalists.

“The very few journalists who continue to work in Somalia at risk of their lives are easy prey,” it said. “Week after week, the authorities flout the most elementary rules of justice towards journalists who annoy them.”

“It is time that the new prime minister, Nur Hassan Hussein, whose silence is unacceptable, states that this cannot go on any longer,” the organisation said.

Hussein Abdi was arrested in Beletwein, capital of the central region of Hiran, on the orders of provincial governor, Yusuf Ahmed Hagar "Dagobed", according to Reporters Without Borders’ partner organisation, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ). The local authorities gave no explanation for the arrest and it is not known were he is being held.

This latest arrest brings to four the number of journalists currently being held in Somalia. Three, Mohammed Shidane Daban, of Radio Banadir ; Bashir Mohammed Abdulkadir and Abdirahman Mohamed Hudeyfi, of Radio Somaliweyn, are being held secretly in Mogadishu, without any charges being laid against them, since the 4 and 13 January 2008.

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