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Oppression of journalist derails progress, Rep. Omar says, urges Somali Govt’ to end attacks on journalists

Sunday April 26, 2020

WASHINGTON (HOL) - Somali-American politician Senator Ilhan Omar has called for an immediate end to attacks on freedom of expression by Somali Government noting oppression of journalists threaten progress.

Congresswoman Omar said in a statement the arrest of Goobjoog Media Group journalist Abdiaziz Gurbiye and threats of prosecution of VOA journalist Harun Maruf were ‘unacceptable’.

“The ongoing intimidation campaign by Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency against Harun Maruf is deeply disturbing,” Omar said. “These attacks, along with the April 14 arrest of Abdiaziz Ahmed Gurbiye for his work covering the impacts of COVID-19 in Somalia, are an unacceptable violation of basic human rights.”

Noting the that ‘the increasing harassment, intimidation, and arrest of journalists including Harun and Abdiaziz threaten that progress, Omar called on Somalia government to ‘immediately cease these attacks on freedom of speech and freedom of the press.’

The Federal Government has come under increasing pressure locally and international to end intimidation and harassment of journalists.

The spy agency NISA said this past week it had submitted a case to the Attorney General with the intent to sue Maruf over what it termed as ‘threat to national security’.

Gurbiye was released last week on bail after three days behind bar over his coverage of COVID-19 in Somalia.

Omar’s calls add to similar ones by the European Union ambassador to Somalia Nicolas Berlanga and the New York Bar Association both of which have asked Somali government to be tolerant to criticism and end oppression of journalists.


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