Monday July 8, 2019
HARGEISA (HOL) - A court in Somaliland has today sentenced, Abdimalik Muse Oldon, a journalist to three and half years jail term.
Oldon was arrested on April 17 over his critical reporting and social media posts deemed to be critical to the state.
Marodi Jeh Regional Court judge sentenced Abdimalik Muse Oldon to the jail terms despite the defending lawyers claiming to have proved the groundlessness of the allegations brought to the court against the journalist.
Two of Oldon’s lawyers- Mubarik Abdi Ismail and Jamal Hussein Ahmed said they will appeal against the verdict to the Higher Court. Both lawyers said the judgment is an affront to the Somaliland Constitution which guarantees the Freedom of Expression.
“Today is another black day for the freedom of the expression in Somaliland. Journalist Oldon has been sentenced to three and half years despite there is no single plaintiff in the case,” defending lawyer Jamal Hussein Ahmed said. “We shall of course react and appeal against this injustice.”
According to lawyer Mubarik Abdi Ismail, shortly before the court sentence was announced, the defending lawyers presented their case to defend the journalist including repealing the articles from the Penal Code used for the verdict.
“In the beginning of this case, we have clearly mentioned that Oldon’s arrest was illegal. And again today we could see the judges were not independent. They were under constant pressure and psychologically influenced by the State,” defending lawyer Mubarik said.
Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) based in Mogadishu has condemned the sentence terming it ‘unfair and politically motivated’.
According to statement, Somali Journalists Syndicate said it has learnt that a state-organized campaign to influence the judges at the court against Journalist Oldon was mobilized.
“The court sentence against journalist Abdimalik Muse Oldon is a politically motivated and therefore it is completely unacceptable,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said “We call authorities in Somaliland to stop criminalizing journalists for only expressing their constitutionally granted freedoms, including freedom of expression and immediately free the journalist.”