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This Monday, 13 February 2023 Mr Mumin faces what is likely to be the final hearing in his farcical trial for the legitimate freedom of expression work he carries out.
Director of Justice Abroad, Michael Polak is part of the legal team representing the Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate Abdalle Mumin and has drafted submission which are before the Court setting out the international provisions protecting free expression which are binding upon the courts of Somalia.
The targeted prosecution of Mr Mumin comes after the Somalian media fraternity held a press conference at the SJS Headquarters in Mogadishu on 10 October 2022, where they expressed their concern about a new government directive that banned what was termed “Spreading Al-Shabab propaganda”. On 11 October 2022, Mr Mumin was arrested at the airport and detained for leading this press conferences and detained at a unknown location and Michael Polak made submissions to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that his detention was unlawful which are currently before the UN. Following this, Mr Mumin was visited by representatives of powerful political figures who told him that the farcical case against him would be dropped if he agreed to cease his media freedom work. Mr Mumin bravely declined this improper offer and will continue to fight for the rights of journalists in Somalia who are amongst the most threatened in the world, facing both threats and physical violence from non-governmental groups and serious censure and intimidation by the Government and its agents.
Justice Abroad reiterates its submission, made to the Banadir Regional Court, that a conviction in Mr Mumin’s case would be contrary to international legal provisions on freedom of expression, contrary to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and contrary to Articles 18 and 23 of the Somalian Constitution.
The SJS have also released a press release in relation to the hearing on Monday 13th February.
Michael Polak is working with the defence team including Ali Halane and Abdirahman H. Omar and stated the following:
‘The conviction of Mr Mumin on Monday would mark a most serious attack on the freedom of the press in Somalia, a place where brave journalists report the news, and their representatives, such as Mr Mumin, speaks up against measures which will prevent them from being able to do.
Freedom of expression and the freedom of the press have long been known to be key provisions that are required for the development of a country and the authorities of Somalia are doing the Somalian people a disservice by punishing Mr Mumin who properly acted within his role to protect these key provision. The corresponding right to freedom of expression and press freedom is the right of people to receive information and farcical cases intended to intimidate people into silence, such as the one against Mr Mumin, also inhibit that right.
I hope that the Court will listen to our submissions and acquit Mr Mumin. If they do not, this case will be taken to the highest level to protect Mr Mumin’s rights, freedom of the press, and freedom of the Somalian people to receive information about subject which affect them on a daily basis.
Amnesty International Human Rights Watch haven sent a letter to the Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Somalia on 12 December 2022 which can be read here.
For any questions in relation to this press release please contact Justice Abroad by email at [email protected]or phone on +44 (0)203 488 2316.
Notes to Editors
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