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Journalist arrested following complaint by humanitarian organisation

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is appalled to learn of the arrest and treatment meted out by Somaliland police to journalist Abdiqani Ismail Goh of Radio Las Anod.

The journalist was arrested on 17 September 2008, after the head of the Somali Red Crescent (SRC) in Las Anod, Mr Dakir Ali Nur, submitted to police a complaint against Abdiqani Ismail Goh, regarding a news report on SRC's food distribution that the journalist published on the Internet. In the news report the journalist cited residents protesting how the food was distributed.

The arrest of the journalist was ordered by head of Somaliland police division in Las Anod, Mr Abdi Muse. When NUSOJ contacted the journalist in his small room at the police station, he said the SRC head in Las Anod was behind the arrest. As well, Mr Dakir Ali Nur visited the police station and reportedly threatened the journalist directly.

The head of the police, who presented to Abdiqani a copy of the news report the journalist published, also accused the journalist of not having an official recognition letter or any identification from the Somaliland Ministry of Information to work as a journalist in Las Anod.

"We unequivocally condemn this reprehensible detention of our colleague Abdiqani Ismail Goh and demand his immediate and unconditional release," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

"In light of the full involvement of the Red Crescent, which is against fundamental human rights, particularly the right to freedom of expression, we ask all forces for human rights and freedom of expression to impress upon the Somali Red Crescent in Las Anod and the Somaliland Police that this arrest is intolerable and shameful. Urgent action needs to be taken against this unlawful imprisonment," Omar added

In May, journalist Abdiqani Ismail Goh was summoned to Las Anod police station for questioning after he was accused of disseminating information against the Somaliland government and the administration in Las Anod. Since then, he has been followed by the police, according to him and fellow journalists in Las Anod.

Recently, Somaliland police in Las Anod also arrested two Radio Las Anod journalists, namely Abdiasis Ahmed Suleyman and Mohamed Ali Elmi, for their criticism of the Somaliland administration's policies in Las Anod.

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