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Internet journalist released after five days in detention

(WiPC/IFEX) - The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN welcomes the release of Mohamed Hussein Jimale, correspondent for the news website Puntlandpost.com ( http://www.puntlandpost.com ) on 17 September 2007 following five days of detention. It would like to share the following statement issued by Somali-Speaking PEN:

The Somali-speaking Centre of International PEN welcomes the decision by the Somali government to release from custody Mr. Mohamed Hussein Jimale, a Somali journalist, who was held in detention for five days in Mogadishu.

Mr. Jimale, a correspondent in Mogadishu for the news website Puntlandpost, was arrested on Wednesday 12 September, after he happened to be in an area where the Somali Police had been rounding up hundreds of people on suspicion of acts of insurgency in Bakaaraha market, the largest open market in Somalia, which has recently become the epicentre of violent clashes between the Somali government troops backed by Ethiopian forces and a mix of clan militias and insurgencies. The police released almost all the detainees shortly after they interrogated them in Hawlwadag Police station and transferred Mr. Jimale straight to another prison near the Presidency, Villa Somalia, once he had identified himself as a journalist.

Mr. Jimale, who was released from custody on 16 September, had been treated well during his period in detention despite long hours of interrogations. So far, the Somali government has not given any information as to why Mr. Jimale was kept in detention for five days. We view his detention as part of the on-going campaign of violence by both the Somali government and the opposition insurgencies to force journalists and other members of Somali creative community to either abandon their journalistic and creative work or take sides with the warring parties.

The Somali-speaking Centre of International PEN salutes its campaigners in Mogadishu as well as all the local and international rights groups for their invaluable efforts in helping the release of journalist Mohamed Hussein Jimale.

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