Yesterday, 20th May 2018, the appeal court in Hargeisa has sentenced Boqor Osman aw Muhumed Mohamed to three years in prison, reducing 5 years jail term given by a regional court on 26th April 2018.
The appeal court heard on 10th and 12th May an appeal submitted by the traditional elder against the regional court sentence.
On 26th April 2018, Hargeisa regional court has sentenced Boqor Osman (known as Buur madow) to five years in prison. A judge at Hargeisa Regional Court heard a criminal case against Boqor Osman without the presence of his lawyer. The judge, Ahmed Dalmar Ismail, pronounced the judgment on the same day.
Today the appeal court judge upheld the conviction.
The elder was accused of “bringing the State into Contempt (article 219(2) of the Penal Code), and “circulation of false news (article 328),” according to the presiding judge. The judge also said he found Boqor Osman of “insult to a judge during a hearing (article 270).
The charges are related to a traditional event held in Armo, a town located in Puntland region of Somalia, where the elder attended an inauguration of another traditional leader. There he made a statement which “weakens the existence of the sovereignty of Somaliland and denouncing the national army who are performing their constitutional duties,” the judge said.
“The regional court conviction upheld by the appeal judge clearly violated the basics of fair trial. He was denied of lawyer, although he repeatedly asked the presiding judge that he wants to have a lawyer and time to prepare a defence. The prosecution was heard and then the verdict was made by the court.,” says Guleid Ahmed Jama, the chairperson of Human Rights Centre.
Freedom of expression is enshrined in article 32 of the Constitution of Somaliland and article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
On 16th April 2018, the Hargeisa regional court has sentenced Mohamed Kayse Mohamoud to 18 months in prison for Facebook post “offending the honour of the President.” Mohamed is still in prison.
Human Rights Centre calls on the government of Somaliland to release Boqor Osman aw Muhumed Mohamed and Mohamed Kayse Mohamoud.
Guleid Ahmed Jama
Chairperson of Human Rights Centre
Guleid Ahmed Jama