Authorities in Somaliland have increased their attack on dissenting opinions, arbitrarily arresting, and prosecuting individuals perceived as critical of government officials. Freedom of expression plays an important role in democratic society to create a safe environment to hold to account government officials and the government itself. The increase of arrests of journalists creates a hostile environment to their profession, thus seeing increased numbers of self-censorship within Somaliland. This increase in harassment and censorship of government critics such as journalists damages and takes away the values that democratic processes are founded on and shows a lack of regard for the civil and political rights of citizens in Somaliland, and in overall for the protection of human rights.
As reported to the Human Rights Center, Jamal Ibrahim Mohamed was arrested by Intelligence agents on February 6th, 2022. However, after being questioned, he was released only to be re-arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department on February 8th, 2022, infringing on his fundamental rights as a citizen and human, as he was brought before court twice without being charged. He has not been charged with a crime, although Intelligence Agents questioned him about a Facebook post he made informing the public about the Minister of Transportation’s resignation and the development of his own political party, Abdirisaaq Ibraahim Mohamed (Ataash). His arrest is contrary to the codes of conduct used as guidelines by the arresting agencies and laws of the country.
These arrests and subsequent unlawful criminal procedures make a total mockery of Somaliland constitution which explicitly guarantees the right to freedom of expression and proper civil rights procedures as stipulated by Article 24 subsection 3, Article 25, subsection 2, Article 26 subsection 2, Article 27 subsections 1,2,3,4,5 and 6, and Article 32 subsections 1 and 3.
The Human Rights Center condemns this arbitrary arrest and detainment of Jamal Ibrahim Mohammed, which is a continued attack on free press and infringement of fundamental rights and spaces. Human Rights Center urges the agencies involved to process his case appropriately and release him if there are no charges against him.