January 23, 2011 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Dismay at three-year jail sentence for Somaliland newspaper editor

Reporters Without Borders is “dismayed” by the three-year jail sentence and fine of 6 million Somaliland shillings (around 1,000 dollars) that a court in Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway northwestern territory of Somaliland, passed yesterday on Mohamud Abdi Jama, the editor of the independent newspaper Waheen, for allegedly libelling local officials. “This sentence has all the hallmarks of summary and punitive justice,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The court should have first established whether or not anyone was defamed and, if they were, a more measured and just penalty should have been imposed. Imprisonment is clearly disproportionate for defamation. We urge the courts to reverse this decision on appeal.” Judge Ali Sudi Diriye found Jama guilty of defaming Somaliland’s chief of police and the head of the territory’s power company (Somaliland Electricity Agency) by publishing “false and misleading reports” about alleged nepotism within these institutions. Jama was incarcerated in Hargeisa’s main prison immediately after the trial. His lawyer said he would appeal.