News / Africa

Rights Group Demands Somali Journalist's Release

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

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs