News / Africa

Rights Group Demands Somali Journalist's Release

TEXT SIZE - +
— Human Rights Watch is demanding the release of a journalist arrested in Somalia after interviewing a woman who was allegedly raped by state security forces.  The rights group is raising concerns about the treatment of victims of sexual violence in Somalia.

Human Rights Watch says Somali police are holding freelance journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, who was arrested Thursday, and two other people linked to the alleged rape victim.

The woman, who said she was raped by government forces several months ago, was also detained by the Central Investigation Department (CID), but her husband is now being held in jail in her place.  A female acquaintance who had put her in contact with the journalist is also being held.

HRW has criticized Somali police for detaining a journalist and harassing a woman who says she was raped, instead of the rape suspects.

An Africa researcher for Human Rights Watch, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says police have blocked the detained journalist from receiving legal assistance.

“We have heard that today the journalist Abdiaziz Abdinoor Ibrahim remains in detention in CID [and)]has not been charged.  Access to his lawyers has at times been denied, notably yesterday [Sunday]," said the researcher. "We are particularly concerned about this case, not only given the fact an alleged victim of rape has been questioned, has been detained on occasion, although currently it is her husband who is in detention in her place."

National Union of Somali Journalists Secretary-General Mohamed Ibrahim visited the journalist in his jail cell.  He says police have complicated the issue because some of their colleagues are in the spotlight over this crime.

“This case, it seems, it is getting a little bit complicated, but the Union is doing its best to support the journalist through the legal system and we believe the journalist will get his freedom sooner or later, but it needs a lot of struggle,” said Ibrahim.

Ibrahim also said the reporter’s health is deteriorating and police have said no one can see him until the investigation is over.

The Human Rights Watch researcher says their organization is concerned the impact this case will have on reporting on abuses committed by the government forces.   

“The question of sexual violence and notably sexual violence by government forces is a concern in Mogadishu.  It deserves to be reported on and it has to be reported on," the researcher added. "[The] president has actually publicly stated that this would no longer be tolerated so it is obviously an issue, and yet now there is intimidation not only of potential victims who might have come forward to report on it, but also journalists who are trying to look into what is a very serious issue.”

For now, the Washington-based organization is calling for the Somali government to immediately release the journalist and others who were detained last week.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid