The Human Rights journalists express deep concern over the unfair trial of journalist Mohamed Abdiwali Tohow who was sentenced to six months imprisonment by a military court in Dhusumareb town of Galmudug State of Somalia.
The journalist who contributes to several media outlets including Universal TV, Radio Kulmiye and Codka Bartamaha radio was arrested by Galmudug intelligenge personnel on 22 September and was brought to a military court on Sunday 30 September.
The journalist faced four charges of ” false news” including two counts on Al shabab presence and operations in Galmudug villages; and two counts on the arrest of ONLF (Ogaden National Liberation Front) fighters who were said to have been handed over to Ethiopian Government by Galmudug authorities. The six-month sentence was pronounced by Gallad Mohamud Qeyliye, the Chief of the First Degree Court-martial of Galmudug State.
Mr. Tohow was not allowed to get a lawyer during the trial and his relatives and journalists were prohibited from entering the court room. Mohamed Abdiwali Tohow has 48 hours only to appeal the sentence.
The Human Rights Journalists condemns of the verdict as inequitable and ruthless which is intended to restrict press freedom in Somalia. “The decision made by Galmudug court-martial is a clear signal of intimidation meant to dishearten journalists in Galmudug and elsewhere in Somalia“. Said Ismail Sheikh Khalifa, Chairman of Human Rights Journalists.
The Human Rights Journalists appeal to Galmudug authorities to drop all charges against Mr. Tohow and free him immediately. We also call on all our local and international partners to join us in putting pressure on Galmudug State authorities to stop press freedom violations and to allow journalists do their work without trepidation.