The Human Rights Center is deeply disturbed with the arbitrary arrests of opposition members and leaders in Somaliland. HRC has recorded two cases regarding opposition leaders and members being arbitrarily arrested. Saleeban Awale Good, the UCID Deputy Secretary of Information in Awdal region, was arrested on 28/8/2021. He has been in detention in Borama Central prison for the past 45 days, without bail, without charge and without his due process procedures, including a court appearance.
He was arrested on the premise of speaking about the job performance of the Governor of Awdal region, following his criticism in the media as he has a right to express his concerns and challenge any official in their job capacity.
Arbitrary arrests have steadily been increasing in Somaliland in free speech and freedom of expression and the Human Rights Center is concerned that these violations rapidly increasing is deteriorating the strength of democracy in the country. His arrest challenges and contradicts article 25(1) and article 32(1). Article 25(1) stipulates that “No one shall be deprived of his liberty except in accordance with the law.” Article 32(1) states “Every citizen shall have the right to express her or his opinion in writing, orally.” or any other form of media. HRC is also concerned that this case is another issue of abuse of power by an elected official on a citizen.
The Deputy Governor of Maroodijex, Wali Abdi Jama, from the Wadani Party was arrested on 16/9/2021 after he criticized the President, Muse Bixi Abdi, through a media conference.
Furthermore, arrests of journalists are a reoccurring topic in human rights violations in the country. Mohammed Abdi Omar, the journalist from SBCTV, was arrested on 13/9/2021 after he filmed a documentary of kalabaydh hospital in Gebilay.
The Human Rights Center urges Somaliland government to release Saleeban Awale Good, Wali Abdi Jama, and Mohammed Abdi Omar immediately, without conditions. HRC calls on Somaliland Government to stop encroaching on the rights of its citizens, uphold and respect the laws enshrined in the constitution of the country. HRC also requests that prosecutors and judges be mindful to respect and uphold the laws and that they work on behalf of the people and not the wishes of government officials.
Yasmin Omar H. Mohamoud
Chairperson of Human Rights Centre