Dembi ku oogidda ay Somaliland dhawaanahan kula kacaysay dadka ka hadla arimaha xasaasiga ah ayaa khatar weyn ku ah xoriyadda hadalka, sida ay maanta sheegtay hay’adda Human Rights Watch. Waxaa ugu dambeeyay dacwad lagu oogay oday dhaqameed caan ah kaasoo 26-kii Abriil 2018 lagu xukumay 5 sano oo xabsi ah, ka dib markii ay maxkamad kiiskiisa qaaday muddo ka yar saacad.
Dowladda Somaliland ayaa bishii lasoo dhaafay dacwad kusoo oogtay saddex qof, ayadoo adeegsanaysa qodobo aan caddeyn oo xakameeya xoriyadda hadalka. Shuruucdan ayaa loo adeegsadaa in dembi laga dhigo ka horimaanshaha siyaasadaha dowladda iyo weliba dhaleeceynta ama aflagaadeynta mas’uuliyiinta dowladda.
“Waxaa sii yaraanaya fursadda ay shacabka ku dhaliili karaan qaabka ay dowladda Somaliland u wajahayso arimaha la isku khilaafsan yahay, maadaama ay dowladda dacwad dembiyeed ku aamusiso dadka dhaliilsan,” ayay tiri Laetitia Bader oo ah cilmi baare sare oo Human Rights Watch u qaabilsan Afrika. Waxay intaa ku dartay “Jawaabta adag ee ay dowladda ka bixinayso arintan ayaa dharbaaxo ku ah ilaalinta xuquuqda aadanaha, waxaana ay si xun u dhaawici kartaa sumcadda dowladda.”
Dhibaatada ka dhalata dembi kusoo oogidda ayaan ku koobneyn dadka la eedeeyay. Kiisaskaasi ayaa sidoo kale diraya farriin ah in dowladda aanay u dulqaadan doonin dhaliilaha qaar, taasoo abuuri karta xaalad ah in warbaahinta ay iskeed isu faafreebto.
Somaliland ayaa sanadkii 1991 ku dhawaaqday inay ka go’day Soomaaliya inteeda kale, balse weli ma aanay helin aqoonsi caalami ah. Waxa ay soohdin la leedahay maamulka Puntland. Tan iyo bishii Janaayo, waxa ay xiisad colaadeed ka taagneyd deegaan ka tirsan gobolka Sool oo ay isku hayaan Somaliland iyo Puntland. Iska horimaad ka dhacay Tukaraq ayaa keenay in ciidamada Somaliland ay deegaankaasi kala wareegaan kuwa Puntland.
19-kii Abriil, booliska Somaliland ayaa xiray Boqor Cismaan Aw-Maxamuud oo ku magac dheer “Buur Madow” ka dib markii uu ku baaqay in Somaliland iyo Puntland ay kala qaadaan ciidamada isku hor fadhiya Sool, xilli uu ka qeybgalayay caleemasaar madax dhaqameed oo ka dhacayay Puntland. Xeer ilaaliyaha Somaliland ayaa 26-kii Abriil ku eedeeyay Boqor Buur Madow inuu jeediyay hadallo dhaawac ku ah madax bannaanida Somaliland iyo faafinta warar been abuur ah. Isla maalintaasi ayaa lagu xukumay shan sano oo xabsi ah. Dhagaysiga racfaankiisa ayaa loo asteeyay 8-da Mey, balse dib ayaa loo dhigay.
15-kii Abriil, Naciima Axmed Ibraahim oo ah abwaanad caan baxday, ayaa lagu xukumay saddex sano oo xabsi ah, ayadoo lagu eedeeyay inay wax u dhintay jiritaanka Somaliland ayna u ololeyneyso in Somaliland ay dib ula midowdo Soomaaliya. Naciima ayaa cafis madaxweyne lagu sii daayay 7-dii Mey ka dib markii ay xirneyd in ka badan saddex bilood.
16-kii Abriil, Maxamed Kayse Maxamuud oo ka mid ah dadka wax ku qora internet-ka ayaa lagu xukumay 18 bilood oo xabsi ah, asagoo loo haysto inuu ku xadgudbay sharafta madaxweynaha Somaliland, ka dib qoraal uu soo dhigay Facebook uu ku sheegay in madaxweynaha uu yahay madaxweyne maxalli ah oo aan gaarsiisneyn heer qaran.
Weriyayaasha ayaa lagula kacay cagajugleyn iyo maxkamadeyn, ayagoo loo adeegsanayo qodobo sharciyeed oo aan caddeyn. Sida ay sheegtay Xarunta Xuquuqda Aadanaha, oo ah ururka ugu weyn ee u dooda xuquuqda aadanaha ee Somaliland, tan iyo markii uu xilka la wareegay madaxweyne Muuse Biixi Cabdi bishii Disembar 2017, afar weriye ayaa lagu helay dembiyo la xiriira magac dil iyo kuwo kale oo dembi ka dhigaya dacaayadda ama aflagaadada ka dhanka ah dalka. Dhammaan afartaasi weriye ayaa lagu xukumay xabsi balse markii dambe waxaa xukunkooda loo bedelay ganaax lacageed.
Waa in baarlamaanka Somaliland uu si degdeg ah meesha uga saaraa dhammaan shuruucda dembiga ka dhigaya xoriyadda ka hadalka afkaarta siyaasadeed, gaar ahaan in la dhaliilo dowladda ama astaamaha qaranka, ayay tiri Human Rights Watch. Inta xilligaasi laga gaarayo, waa in dacwad oogga Somaliland uu joojiyaa adeegsiga shuruucdaasi.
Dhagaysiga dacwadaha loo adeegsado shuruucdaasi xadgudubka ah ayaa mararka qaar meel uga dhacay hannaanka asaasiga u ah ee maxkamadeynta cadaaladda ah. Boqor Buur Madow ayaa lagu eedeeyay, laguna xukumay dhagaysi dacwadeed oo qaatay wax ka yar saacad. Laba qof oo goobjoog u ahaa maxkamadeyntaasi ayaa sheegay in garsooraha uu diidday codsi uga yimid Boqor Buur Madow oo ahaa in dib loo dhigo kiiskiisa si uu u helo qareen.
Dad goobjoog u ahaa dhagaysiga dacwadda Naciima Axmed ayaa sheegay inay ku eedeysay saraakiil ka tirsan sirdoonka Somaliland inay u hanjabeen, dharbaaxeen ayna u geysteen tacaddiyo jinsi ah labadii maalmood ee ugu horreysay xabsiga. Waxa ay sidoo kale ku eedeysay askari ka tirsan laanta dembi baarista inuu si xun ula dhaqmay.
Mid kamid ah qareenada Naciima ayaa u sheegay Human Rights Watch in garsoorayaasha kiiskeeda ay aqbaleen caddeyn uu sheegay in si qasab ah lagu keenay. Waxa uu sheegay in maxkamadda aanay waxba ka qaban codsiga qareennada Naciima oo ku baaqay in baaritaan lagu sameeyo eedeymaha ay jeedisay ee ah in lagu dhibaateeyay xabsiga. Isla qareenkaasi oo matalay Maxamed Kayse ayaa sheegay in booliska ay si isdaba joog ah ugu diideen inuu la kulmo macmiilkiisa ka hor inta aan maxkamadda lasoo taagin iyo in markii ugu horreysay uu si toos ah ula kulmay maalintii koobaad ee maxkamadeyntiisa.
Dastuurka Somaliland ee 2001 ayaa damaanad qaadaya xoriyadda hadalka iyo tan warbaahinta, “si waafaqsan sharciga.” Balse xeerka ciqaabta ee la dhaqangaliyay 1964 ayaa waxaa ku jira tiro qodobo aan caddeyn kuwaasoo ay ka mid yihiin inay dembi tahay ku xadgudubka sharafta madaxweynaha, aflagaadeynta mas’uul dowladda ka tirsan ama hay’ad dowliga ah iyo xaqiraadda qaranka ama calanka. Dadka arimahaasi lagu helo ayaa lagu xukumi karaa ilaa saddex sano oo xabsi ah.
Sida ku cad xeerka Guddiga Afrika ee Xuquuqda Aadanaha, “Waa in dadka haya xilalka waaweyn ee bulshada ka dhexmuuqda ay si macquul ah u wajahaan dhaliil ballaaran si ka duwan dadka caadiga ah, haddii kale waxaa lumaya doodaha bulshada ay yeelan karto.”
“Waa in Somaliland ay isbedel ku samaysaa shuruucdeeda ayna joojisaa maxkamadeynta dadka soo bandhiga aragtidooda siyaasadeed,” ayay tiri Bader oo intaa ku dartay, “taa bedelkeeda waa inay xoogga saartaa baaritaanka tacaddiyada ka dhanka ah dadka xiran iyo abuuridda jawi ay dadka si xor ah uga dooddi karaan ugana faalloon karaan arimaha xasaasiga ah ayaga oo aan ka baqayn inay faafreeb isku sameeyaan.
Wixii faahfaahin dheeraad ah, fadlan kala xiriir:
Gudaha Rome, Laetitia Bader (oo ku hadasha Ingiriis iyo Faransiis,) +393662845295; ama email@example.com. Ka raac barta Twitter: @LaetitiaBader
Gudaha Nairobi, Maria Burnett (oo ku hadasha Ingiriis): +1-917-379-1696 (telefoonka gacanta); firstname.lastname@example.org. Ka raac barta Twitter: @MariaHRWAfrica.
Gudaha Nairobi, Abdullahi Abdi (oo ku hadla Soomaali): +254 721 319397 (telefoonka gacanta); email@example.com. Ka raac barta Twitter: @Abdullahisom1
For Immediate Release
Somaliland: Prosecutions Threaten Free Expression
Repeal Provisions that Criminalize Free Speech
(Nairobi, May 8, 2018) – A string of recent prosecutions in Somaliland targeting people who spoke out on controversial issues is a dangerous attack of free expression, Human Rights Watch said today. In the latest such case, a prominent traditional elder was charged, tried, and sentenced to five years in prison on April 26, 2018, in proceedings that lasted less than an hour.
Over the course of the last month, the government has prosecuted three people under vague and overly broad provisions that restrict free expression. These laws are being used to criminalize disagreements with key state policies, as well as criticism of, or perceived insults to, public officials.
“Public space for criticism of the government on contentious issues is shrinking in Somaliland, as the authorities bring criminal charges to silence critics,” said Laetitia Bader, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “This heavy-handed response is an assault on key human rights protections, and risks badly tarnishing the government’s image.”
The harm caused by the abusive prosecutions is not limited to the defendants. These cases also send a collective message that state authorities will not tolerate certain forms of dissent, which creates a chilling environment that may fuel self-censorship.
Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not received international recognition. It shares a border with Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland state. Since January, tensions between Somaliland and Puntland have increased in the contested border Sool region with Somaliland deploying forces and taking over Puntland bases in the town of Tukaraq.
On April 19, police arrested traditional elder Boqor Osman Aw-Mohamud, known as “Buur Madow” – Black Mountain in Somali – after he called on Somaliland and Puntland to withdraw their troops from Sool at an elder’s inauguration event in Puntland. On April 26, a Somaliland prosecutor charged him with bringing the state into contempt and with the circulation of false information. He was tried that day and sentenced to five years in prison. His appeal hearing was set for May 8 but has been delayed.
On April 15, Naima Ahmed Ibrahim, a popular poet, was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of bringing the country into contempt for commentary promoting unity of Somaliland with Somalia. Naima Ahmed was released on May 7, on a presidential pardon, after over three months in detention.
On April 16,Mohamed Kayse Mohamud, a blogger, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for offending the honor of the head of state in Facebook comments in which he called Somaliland’s president a local, not national, president.
Journalists have been harassed and prosecuted, often with the same vague and overly broad criminal provisions. According to the Human Rights Center, a leading human rights organization in Somaliland, since the inauguration of Somaliland’s new president, Muse Bihi Abdi, in December 2017, four journalists have been convicted on defamation charges or other charges that criminalize propaganda or insults against the state. In each case, the court sentenced the journalist to prison but later converted the sentence to a fine.
Somaliland’s parliament should move urgently to repeal all laws that criminalize the free expression of political opinions, including criticism of state authorities or national symbols, Human Rights Watch said. In the meantime, prosecutors should refrain from bringing criminal charges under these laws.
Trials under these abusive laws have at times violated basic due process guarantees. Boqor Buur Madow was charged, tried, and sentenced in a hearing that lasted less than an hour. Two people who were there said the presiding judge denied Boqor Buur Madow’s request to postpone the trial so he could get a lawyer.
Trial observers said that during Naima Ahmed’s trial, she alleged that Somaliland intelligence agency officials had threatened, slapped, and sexually harassed her during her first two days of incarceration. She also alleged that an officer at the police’s Criminal Investigation Department had mistreated her.
One of her lawyers told Human Rights Watch that the judges admitted evidence that the lawyers said was obtained under duress. He said that the courts have not responded to the complaints the lawyers filed calling for an investigation into the allegations of mistreatment in detention. The same lawyer represented Mohamed Kayse, and said the police repeatedly denied him access to his client during his pretrial detention, and that the lawyer met with his client in person for the first time on the first day of his trial.
Somaliland’s 2001 constitution guarantees freedom of expression and of the media, in “accordance with the law.” But the penal code, which came into force in 1964, includes a number of vague and overly broad crimes including offending the honor and prestige of the head of state, insulting a public officer or institution, and contempt against the nation, state or flag. These can be punished by sentences of up to three years in prison.
As the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has stated, “People who assume highly visible public roles must necessarily face a higher degree of criticism than private citizens; otherwise public debate may be stifled altogether.”
“Somaliland should amend its laws and stop prosecuting people for expressing their political views,” Bader said. “Instead it should focus on investigating mistreatment of detainees, and creating a conducive environment in which people can freely debate and comment on sensitive issues without fear or having to self-censor.”
For more information, please contact:
In Rome, Laetitia Bader (English, French): +39-366-284-5295; or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @LaetitiaBader
In Nairobi, Maria Burnett (English): +1-917-379-1696 (mobile); or email@example.com. Twitter: @MariaHRWAfrica.
In Nairobi, Abdullahi Abdi (Somali): +254-721-319-397 (mobile); or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @Abdullahisom1