Abdalle Mumin was presented before the Banadir Regional Court in Mogadishu with his lawyers, media representatives and a dozen of journalists. Several members of the Somali Federal Parliament and civil society groups also joined the court hearing.
Mumin’s defense Lawyers strongly objected the case as they clearly stated as ‘a politically-motivated’ with no legal basis. The Lawyers urged the court to be mindful about their decision as journalism is not a crime and that the ministry of information which brought the case has been working to intimidate and silence Mumin and his colleagues.
The prosecutor read three charges (Article 219 – Bringing the Nation or the State into contempt; Article 321- Instigation to disobey the laws and Article 505 – non-observance of orders of the authorities), all are derived from the outdated Somali penal code.
The Lawyers noted major flaws in the charge sheet which, according to its date, was issued a year ago and contains references to the article from the Somali Telecommunication Act.
The court viewed two video clips – one by the Deputy Minister of Information, Abdirahman Yusuf Adala, and another clip by Abdalle Mumin made during media advocacy groups’ press conference on 10 October 2022. The Attorney General also made several references of Abdalle Mumin’s critical reporting against the government officials including exposure of human rights violations in Somalia.
The defense Lawyers, however, questioned the basis of the charges and the oral argument presented by the Attorney General during the hearing. Somali authorities have previously said they will cease charging journalists with the penal code.
The next hearing is scheduled for later this week.
Last month, seven international organizations sent a joint letter to Somali government officials calling for all charges against Journalist, press freedom advocate, and Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, to be dropped.
The letter details the arbitrary arrests, detention, and persecution that Mr. Mumin has faced in recent months at the hands of the Somali government in response to him exercising his right to freedom of expression.
Mumin was first arbitrarily detained on October 11, 2022, following a public statement expressing concerns about a government directive that restricted freedom of expression. He was released on October 16 and re-arrested on October 18 and developed multiple health issues while in detention. He was released on bail on October 22 on the condition that he would not travel outside of the country and that he would cease his work and expressive activities.