The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns in strongest terms possible the 6-month jail sentence handed today to Mohamed Abdiwali Tohow a radio and TV reporter in Dhuusamareeb, by the Galmudug authorities, terming it “outrageous and the harshest punishment” given to a journalist in recent times in the Galmudug State of Somalia.
The six-month sentence for Mohamed Abdi Tohow was announced by Sheikh Hassan Geerte, Chief of the First Level Court in Galmudug , and there was no defense lawyer and an independent witness at the time of the court’s verdict .
“This is a devastating blow to press freedom in Somalia but we are determined to pursue the fight for our colleagues’ freedom,” said Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, NUSOJ Secretary General . “This sentence is all about cowing independent media into submission to local government’s control and it is preposterous to even suggest these journalists represent a danger to peace and security”
The arrest of Mohamed Abdiwali Tohow comes after the journalist was accused by the local authority of spreading what they called ‘false news. Intelligence personnel detained the journalist on September 22 over a report broadcast the previous day for the Mogadishu-based Radio Kulmiye. Mohamed also contributes to several stations, including the London-based broadcaster Universal
“This is clearly an unfair and unjust sentence which adds to the anxiety of our colleagues and their families, we shall do all we can to make sure his release and we call on the pressure groups and international community to condemn this blatant violation and put pressure on Galmudug to withdraw this disgraceful decision and free Mohamed Abdiwali Tohow in order to carry out his noble services to the people” Abdifatah Hassan Farah NUSOJ Second Deputy Chairman who is based in Galmudug said .