After 21 days in detention, the government of Somaliland has charged three reporters arrested on April 13th following the prison revolt at Hargeisa central jail with the dissemination of false news, anti-Somaliland propaganda, and operating a business without a license. The criminal complaint is based on Somaliland’s criminal code sections 215, 328, and 518 and could carry up to a five-year prison term if convicted.
Article 215 of Somaliland’s Penal Code
Article 328 of Somaliland’s Penal Code
Article 518 of Somaliland’s Penal Code
The reporters charged today, Mr. Mohamed Abdi Mohamed (Ilig) from MM Television, Mr. Abdijabar Mohamed Hussein from Horn Cable, and Mr. Abdirahman Ali Khalif of Bulsho TV were among 15 journalists arrested on April 13th following the prison revolt. twelve were released without charge on April 19th.
According to sources who were briefed on the matter, Mr. Mohamed Abdi Mohamed (Ilig) is the sole defendant charged on article 518 for allegedly operating MM Television without a license. The Deputy Prosecutor General Mr. Farhan Mire Osman who has signed the criminal complaint has requested a hearing date from Marodijeh Regional Court.
Although Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia after 1991, more than 31 years later, its penal code is based on the draconian criminal code enacted in Somalia in 1962.