MOGADISHU, Somalia, 26 May, 2020 – We, Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), Somali Media Association (SOMA) and Somali Independent Media Houses Association (SIMHA) express our grave concern by the use of detained Radio Hiigsi editor, Mohamed Abduwahaab Nuur Abuuja’s phone number to register with the IMO messaging application and the confiscation of his personal laptop.
On Sunday 24 May, around 3:06p.m local time, members of Abuuja’s family received notification messages with Mohamed Abuuja’s name indicating that Abuuja was back online. Family members said when they called back nobody responded to their calls.
Officers from the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) first detained journalist Mohamed Abuuja on 29 February after writing critical on the behavior of the Somali security forces. He was released on 2 March without charges. He was re-arrested on 7 March and has been held incommunicado since then without access to a lawyer and family.
According to the journalist’s father, Abduwahaab Nuur Mahdi, NISA officers confiscated his phone on the day of his arrest and visited the journalist’s home a week later to seize his laptop.
We, Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), Somali Media Association (SOMA) and Somali Independent Media Houses Association (SIMHA), are extremely worried by the breach of journalist Mohamed Abuuja’s right to his privacy, we are also worried by the motive of those doing these actions. We strongly believe that journalist Mohamed Abuuja is not free and hence has no access to his phone.
We jointly demand the journalist be freed immediately and unconditionally or be brought at the Court with access to a lawyer.
We also wish to warn against all journalists, colleagues and family members to be vigilant against any possible communication from these accounts purportedly registered under Mohamed Abuuja’s name.
We also call for those holding Mohamed Abuuja to immediately speak and should explain who accessed the journalist’s phone and the reason they did it.