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Somalia: Urgent investigation needed after fatal shooting of journalist

 

Press release

27 Mar 2013

ARTICLE 19 condemns the fatal shooting of a journalist in Mogadishu . Rahma Abdulkadir, a freelance radio reporter was shot several times as she was returning  home on 24 March 2013. She is the second journalist to be gunned down in the Somali capital in 2013, in what is understood to have been a targeted attack. ARTICLE 19 urges the law enforcement authorities to launch to a prompt and effective investigation into Rahma's killing and the previous case in order to bring those responsible to justice.

“Justice must be done for Rahma, for her family and for the media at large. In 2012, 18 journalists were killed in Somalia. To date, no one has been held responsible for those killings. We are concerned that this vicious cycle of impunity continues now into 2013” said Henry Maina ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa Director.

On 18 January, unknown gunmen shot dead the veteran Shabelle Media Network producer Abdihared Osman Aden, in what is believed to be a targeted attack, while he was walking to work.

Journalists in Somalia are frequently the target of violence because they have exercised their right to freedom of expression. These attacks are often blamed on Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab insurgents, clan divisions and other players involved in conflict within the country. Only recently has the government begun to consider taking steps to ensure accountability for these attacks.

On 9 November 2012 during a meeting with media representatives, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud pledged to take adequate measures to respond to violence against journalists.

On 5 February, Somalia Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon launched an Independent Task Force on Human Rights to tackle what he called a “culture of impunity” in relation to human rights abuses in Somalia. A 13 member taskforce will investigate a broad range of human rights abuses, including the killing of journalists.

Somalia's government has also recently offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the "successful conviction of a journalist killer".

ARTICLE 19 urges the government to give the human rights taskforce all the support it needs to complete its investigative work , in order to propose strong recommendations that will address the violence and impunity.  ARTICLE 19 also calls on the police to conduct swift and effective investigation to bring to justice those responsible for the killings and other attacks on media workers.

ARTICLE 19 also calls upon the Government to take proactive measures in the meantime to protect journalists and media workers and to prevent their killings

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