A Somali journalist has been under arrest for almost a week because he interviewed a woman who claimed she had been raped by members of the Somali army. The woman was also detained briefly and her husband is also reported to have been held.
Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, a freelance who often works for radio stations, was arrested by police last Thursday after interviewing the woman.
According to local journalists, the interrogation of Abdiaziz Abdinur by Somalia’s Central Investigation Department (CID) focused on his alleged involvement in writing the article. But he doesn’t work for Al-Jazeera and interviewed the woman two days after the article was published.
The CID has also questioned several other Somali journalists, including Al-Jazeera’s Arabic correspondent, Omar Faruk, and radio journalist Abdiaziz Mohamed Dirie.
In November 2012, the new Somali president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, pledged to hold state security forces to account for abuses.
“The Somali police are detaining a journalist and harassing a woman who says she was raped, while letting those accused of rape run free,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
And the United Nations special representative who deals with conflict-related sexual violence, Zainab Hawa Bangura, said: “The approach taken by the Somali police does not serve the interest of justice; it only serves to criminalise victims and undermine freedom of expression for the press.”
She added: “Victims should not have to live in fear and shame while perpetrators enjoy the very protections that should be afforded to survivors.”