Mogadishu, 21 October 2014
The Hearing of the case of Shabelle and SkyFM journalists started at the regional Court on Tuesday morning around 10:00am and lasted for an hour.
Judge Hashi Elmi Nor opened the hearing as scheduled and read a letter from the office of the Attorney General charging Abdimaalik Yusuf Mohamoud, owner of Shabelle Media Network and Ahmed Abdi Hassan, Shabelle newscaster on Articles 320 – (Instigation to Delinquency – To publicly incite another to commit one or more offenses) and 321 (Instigation to disobey the laws – to publicly incite another to disobey the laws relating to public order or stir up hatred between the social classes) on the Somali penal code.
However, the both Abdi Maalik and Ahmed rejected the charges.
The Deputy Attorney General, Dr. Ahmed Hassan took the session and said since they rejected, we request the honourable court to provide its office additional time, in which they will be able to present evidence and witnesses before the court proofing that they had committed that crime, adding that the office of the Attorney General has the right to investigate the matter within 90 days citing article 47 of the Somali procedural code.
Later the Judge asked the lawyers defending Shabelle Media Network, if they had anything to request, since the Attorney General’s office is requesting additional time for the case.
The journalists were represented a group of Six lawyers, among them, Avv. Ali Halane who had requested from the court to grant a temporary freedom to the journalists.
The Attorney General, Ahmed Ali Dahir was also present at the hearing said that they have the right to request temporary freedom from the court, but it should be conditional and that the court imposes travel ban if it is to grant such freedoms.
Finally, the Regional Court Chief, Judge Hashi Elmi Nor granted the release on bail requested and the court hearing was adjourned.
Mohamed Bashir Hashi, Editor of Shabelle and Mohamud Mohamed Dahir were not brought in today’s hearing.
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) welcomes the temporary freedom granted and calls for the other journalists to be given fair trail while the union reiterates its call that the radio stations be allowed to resume operations.
“We were encouraged by today’s hearing and welcome that some of our colleagues are released on bail.” Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, “We call on the Somali government to provide fair trail for those still held in custody and allow the radio station to resume operations.”