Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of Omar Ali Hassan, a journalist who was arrested arbitrarily in the breakaway northwestern region of Somaliland on 8 July on his return from the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Also known as Omar Serbia, Omar Ali Hassan reports for the Mogadishu-based radio and TV station Goobjoog. He was arrested shortly after landing at the airport in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, which unilaterally declared its independence in 1991.
“We condemn the illegal detention of Omar Serbia, who was arrested without any grounds being given, said Clea Kahn-Sriber, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. His arrest is a result of the criminalization of journalists who cover neighbouring Somalia. We urge Somaliland’s authorities to free him at once and to respect media freedom in their territory, in accordance with the country’s laws.”
As RSF reported at the time, freelance journalist and blogger AbdulMalik Muse Oldon was arrested in a similar fashion at Hargeisa airport in February on his return from a visit to Mogadishu, where he met the Somali president. He was sentenced to two years in a prison on charges of publishing false news and inciting public unrest.