An appeal court is due to issue a ruling on 9 September on Voix de Djibouti correspondent Houssein Ahmed Farah's appeal against a 16 August order refusing his request to be released provisionally. Arrested on 8 August, Farah has been languishing in the capital's Gabode prison since 11 August.
"We call for Farah's immediate release because of the concern about his fragile health and the conditions in which he is being held, and because at no point has it been possible to clearly establish with the Djibouti police and judicial authorities what he is charged with."
Djibouti's authorities have been hounding Farah for nearly 10 years, previously arresting him in 2003, 2007 and 2011. He has been facing charges of forgery and participating in an insurrectional movement since February 2011.
14.08.2012 - Two ministers sent letter after journalist's transfer to prison
Reporters Without Borders wrote to two government ministers today to protest at the way the authorities have been treating Houssein Ahmed Farah, the correspondent of the news website La Voix de Djibouti, for the past week. A copy of the letter was also sent to President Ismaël Omar Guelleh.
"Despite all the speculation about the reason for Farah’s detention, the authorities have at no time publicly said what he is accused of," Reporters Without Borders director-general Christophe Deloire said in the letter to justice minister Ali Farah Assoweh and interior minister Hassan Farar Houffaneh.
"How is it possible that a journalist and human rights defender has been able to spend a week incommunicado, in what constitutes a flagrant denial of his most basic rights? We are very worried about the conditions in which he is being held and we will hold you responsible, as justice and interior ministers, if anything happens to him.
"If Djibouti's judicial system is unable to produce solid evidence to justify Farah's imprisonment, we urge you to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that he is released without delay,” the letter added.
Farah, who is also a member of Djibouti's Human Rights League and the MRD, an opposition party, was arrested in Djibouti-Ville at around 11 a.m. on 8 August by Col. Abdoulkader Ibrahim Gona and Col. Abdillahi Hassan Boulaleh.
After being held for more than 72 hours at Djibouti's police headquarters, he was brought before investigating judge Lamisse Mohamed Saïd on 11 August and was then immediately transferred to the capital's Gabode prison.
Farah was not able to see a lawyer while in police custody and was not represented by one when he appeared before the judge. Nor has he been allowed any visits or medical attention although his health is poor and he needs treatment.
Photo : Houssein Ahmed Farah