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Somalia24 March 2009

Somaliland newspaper editor freed on bail

Local newspaper editor Mohamed Abdi Guled was released on bail on 20 March by a court in Hargeisa, the capital of the northern breakaway territory of Somaliland. The editor of the Hargeisa-based weekly Yool, Guled had to pay bail of 1 million Somaliland shillings (530 euros).

19.03.2009 - Editor of Somaliland weekly sentenced to five months in prison

A court in Hargeisa, the capital of the northern breakaway territory of Somaliland, sentenced Mohamed Abdi Guled, the editor of the Hargeisa-based weekly Yool, to five months in prison on 17 March on charges of operating an unregistered newspaper and publishing fabricated information.

Reporters Without Borders joins its partner organisation in Somalia, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), in condemning this sentence. Read the NUSOJ press release.

Also known as “Urad”, Guled was arrested on 26 February and held at the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department. Local journalists said at the time they thought the reason for his arrest was a report published two days earlier about alleged plots to murder parliamentarians, opposition party leaders and traditional chiefs.

27.02.2009 - Editor of a Somaliland weekly arrested in Hargeisa

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the arrest yesterday by police in the breakaway autonomous region of Somaliland in northern Somalia, of Mohamed Abdi Guled, editor of the privately-owned weekly Yool appearing in Hargeisa. The journalist is being held on the premises of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

Several journalists in Hargeisa said that Mohamed Abdi Guled, better known as "Urad", was probably arrested as a result of the publication of an article on 24 February, exposing planned murder attempts against Somaliland’s parliamentary deputies, leaders of opposition parties and traditional chiefs.

“This arrest is illegal, since Somaliland’s media law lays down that the authorities can only arrest a journalist on the order of a court,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“In these circumstances and knowing that no charge has brought against Mohamed Abdi Guled, he should logically be immediately released”, the organisation said.

His fellow journalists also said that the incident, forcing Urad to spend the weekend in custody without going before a court, was aimed at “intimidating the entire journalist community of Somaliland”.

Mohamed Abdi Guled

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