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Somali journalist sentenced to two months in prison for threatening national security

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A freelance journalist was given a two-month prison term by a Somali court on Monday for allegedly endangering the country’s security, according to the press association, a decision that was criticized by media organizations and human rights advocates.

The Somali Journalists’ Union (SJS) president declared on Twitter that Abdalle Ahmed Mumin’s conviction was “a clear travesty of justice” and vowed to challenge the ruling. Mumin is a journalist and the organization’s secretary general.

According to Ibrahim, it “not only sends a chilling message to the entire media community, but also instills fear among professionals and press freedom groups.”

Human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Press Institute, had called for the prosecution to be dropped prior to the conviction because Mumin had been the target of persistent threats and retaliation by the Somali government for standing up for the freedom of expression.

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In a joint letter sent to the attorney general of Somalia in December, they claimed that the prosecutions “significantly contribute to the closure of civic space in the country.”

Abdalle Ahmed Mumin was detained in October, shortly after the government decided to intensify its crackdown on media organizations that they believe are involved in Shebab propaganda.

In opposition to the government’s decision, the SJS union and four other media organizations had voiced their concern that it would curtail the right to free speech.

With more than 50 journalists killed there since 2010, the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks Somalia 140th out of 180 nations in terms of press freedom.

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RSF claims that Somalia, with a population of 17 million, is the most hazardous nation in Africa for journalists. They are primarily put in danger by the Shebab, an al-Qaeda affiliate that is attempting to topple the internationally supported government, but the authorities are also accused of mistreating them.

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