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Journalist Jama Ayanle Feyte pardoned and released

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - On 15 April 2009, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) welcomed with joy the release of journalist Jama Ayanle Feyte from the Bossasso jail after a pardon from the Puntland president.

A Bossasso court convicted Ayanle for libel and insult of Puntland leaders and dissemination of false information on two Somali news websites. The court handed him a two-year prison sentence.

Ayanle, who works for the news website , was arrested by Puntland police in Bossasso on 26 March on the orders of the deputy police commissioner, Mohamed Said Jaqanaf. The deputy police commissioner informed the journalist at the time that he was being charged with publishing false information, but did not specify what the alleged false information was.

"We are very pleased to know of the release of our colleague Jama Ayanle Feyte after 20 days of imprisonment," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ secretary general. "We always believed and insisted that he was innocent and he did not get a fair trial and the verdict was politicized."

In a separate case, journalist Ahmed Abdi Farah of Radio Galkayo died in a car accident on 14 April, 10 kilometres south of Garowe town, capital of Puntland Regional State. The journalist, who was driving on a rough road, was testing his sedan when the accident occurred. One other person in the sedan died in the accident and two people were wounded.

Ahmed Abdi Farah was the third journalist to die in 2009 in Somalia. Journalists Hassan Mayow and Said Tahlil were assassinated in Afgoye and Mogadishu, respectively.

"The death of Ahmed Abdi Farah is another tragedy (that) struck Somali journalists. While we mourn his untimely death, we express our heartfelt condolences to the family, colleagues and friends of Ahmed Abdi Farah," Faruk said.

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