Former senior health bureau official, government critic detained in Somali region, accused of hate speech

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Siraj Adem, former Somali region senior health bureau official, has been detained on Thursday 17 November in Dire Dawa and taken to regional capital Jigjiga where he is currently jailed, according to information received by Addis Standard.

The information was corroborated by Siraj Abdikadir, a lecturer at Jigjiga University, who said that Siraj Adem, former health promotion director of the Somali regional state health bureau, has become a government critic since he resigned from his post in 2020. He has been exposing officials engaged in corruption on his social media and through exclusive interviews with several independent media, Siraj added.

After getting a tip that the regional police officers were set to inspect his house, Siraj Adem moved to Dire Dawa in fear of arrest, according to Siraj the lecturer. Regional police officers arrested him in his hotel room in Dire Dawa on Thursday morning he added.

Siraj Adem, who is a former prisoner and torture survivor of the infamous jail Ogaden during the reign of former president Abdi Mohamoud Omar, a.k.a. Abdi Iley, who is currently facing trials at a federal court, is accused of allegedly spreading hate speech and false propaganda, according to his friend.

Addis Standard’s attempt to get a comment from the Somali regional state police was unsuccessful. AS