IPI on Monday joined six other international organisations in a letter calling on Somali authorities to drop the criminal charges filed against Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, a journalist and the Secretary General of the Somalia Journalist Syndicate. 

Mumin was first arrested on October 11 at the Mogadishu airport while attempting to travel to Nairobi. His arrest came just after the SJS joined with other press freedom organizations to raise concerns about the government’s new anti-terrorism directive, which civil society says curtails press freedom.

He was later released on bail but was arrested again two days later while again attempting to travel to Nairobi for medical treatment. He was then again released amid deteriorating health. His release was granted under strict conditions, according to SJS, including demanding that he stop his media advocacy work and abandon future criticism of authorities, and that media organizations publish a statement in favour of the anti-terror directive.

Mumin faces his first court hearing on January 4, 2023, on a range of criminal charges that include bringing the nation into contempt, instigation to disobey laws, and non-observance of orders of the authorities. 

The joint letter — signed by IPI, Amnesty International, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa, Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch, PEN International, and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights — calls on Somali Attorney General Sulayman Mohamed Mohamoud to immediately drop all charges against Mumin. According to signatories, his prosecution not only “casts a chilling effect on media freedom and journalism, but it also significantly contributes to the closing civic space in the country.”

Read the joint letter and supporting documents.