London-based Universal TV’s Hargeisa bureau chief, Digaale has been held since 17 February by the police department’s counter-terrorism unit in Hargeisa, where a court ordered him detained for an initial period of seven days. He has not yet been allowed access to a lawyer.
According to the information obtained by RSF, the head of the Hargeisa regional court determined that Digaale allowed false information constituting incitement to violence to be broadcast on Universal TV’s Somali-language news report on 2 February. In this programme, residents of the El-Afwayn region complained about police interference in clashes between tribes.
“Mohamed Aabi Digaale’s detention is completely arbitrary and illegal,” RSF said. “We call for his immediate release and we expect the authorities to respect press freedom, which is enshrined in Somaliland’s constitution.”
The Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA) and Human Right Centre have both condemned Digaale’s arrest and have called for his immediate release. RSF condemned similar cases of journalists being detained arbitrarily by the Hargeisa authorities in June, July and October of last year.