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Puntland guards beat journalist inside courtroom

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is angered by the beating, by court guards, of a local journalist inside the high court in Bosaso town, the commercial hub of the semi-autonomous regions of Puntland.

Ahmed Ibrahim Nor, a correspondent for Radio SIMBA in Mogadishu, was beaten by the chief security officer of the court and other guards during a court hearing on 24 February 2010. This happened while Nor and other journalists were recording the proceedings as the judge was sentencing a convicted criminal.

"The commander told us to stop recording the proceedings and we did stop. Then, he started hitting me on the head. Then a group of seven other guards set on me, beating me badly," Nor said in an interview with Radio SIMBA. The Puntland authorities did not comment on the beating of the journalist.

"This brutality by the Puntland security forces is unacceptable. We call on the Puntland authorities to end these attacks committed with impunity even before the eyes of the justice system of Puntland and to respect journalists and protect their right to gather information without fear," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ secretary general.

Puntland authorities had earlier arrested several journalists and released them without proffering any charges.

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