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Somalia4 July 2003

Two journalists released after two days in detention

Mohamed Hudeyfi and Hussein Mohamed Gheedi, two journalists working for Banadir Radio, were released on 2 July following intervention by the information minister of the Transitional National Government (TNG). They had been arrested on 30 June on a warrant issued by the Mogadishu city hall.

2 July 2003

Transition government arrests two journalists in Mogadishu

Reporters Without Borders today called for the release of two radio journalists, Abdurahman Mohamed Hudeyfi and Hussein Mohamed Gheedi, who have held for the past two days by the Mogadishu police.

Their families said they were detained on the night of 30 June and taken to detention centre in the capital. They appear not to have been charged but their employer, Ali Dhagweyn, the director of privately-owned Banadir Radio, said they had been arrested "for exercising their right to inform the public, guaranteed by article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

Reporters Without Borders called on the president of the Transitional National Government (TNG), Abdulkasim Salat Hassan, to explain the arrests and release the two journalists if they were being held just for doing their job. Stressing that the news media have a key role to play in Somalia’s reconstruction, the organisation warned that the transitional government would be acting against its own aims if it arrested journalists and violated press freedom.

Banadir Radio recently carried several reports about embezzlement within the Mogadishu town hall. The radio station also implicated influential businessmen in illegal land purchases.

The news media and journalists are regularly targeted in Somalia, by both the authorities and the warlords who control parts of the country. Mogadishu has several privately-owned newspapers, as well as radio and TV stations.

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