04 December 2006 - IFJ Calls for the Release of Journalist Held in Somalia
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called for the immediate and
unconditional release of the journalist Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled, who is being held by the
authorities in the semi-autonomous state of Puntland, Somalia on claims he aired reports
allegedly supporting the Islamic Courts.
Guled, a stringer for the Mogadishu-based radio station Simba, was arrested in the
north-eastern town of Bossasso on 1 December by the Puntland Intelligence Service.
The reasons for his arrest have not been announced but, according to sources, he is being
detained because of his report on radio Simba on 1 December that a demonstration to
support the Islamic Courts would be organised by religious leaders in Bossasso. Sources
also confirmed that Guled is accused of establishing and airing in Bossasso a branch of
the Galkayo-based Radio Voice of Peace, which the authorities said he did not have prior
authorization to do.
"We call on the authorities of Puntland to release immediately and unconditionally
Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. "We
condemn this attempt to control the media and to intimidate journalists."
A Puntland authority, who spoke to National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) on
condition of anonymity, said that investigations are ongoing and if Guled is found to
have had relations with the Islamic Courts Council, he would be prosecuted for
endangering national security and territorial integrity.
"On behalf of Somali journalists we robustly deplore this act of suppressing the
independent voice of journalism," said Omar Faruk Osman, Secretary General of the NUSOJ.
The IFJ also condemned the arrest and intimidation this weekend of Massimo Alberizzi, a
reporter for Italy's /Corriere della Sera /newspaper, by the Islamic Courts in Mogadishu.
According to Reuters, Alberizzi was arrested at his hotel and driven to an empty airstrip
where he was questioned about his reporting, including reports on support that Eritrea
may have given the Islamists. He was later taken back to a hotel under armed guard and
released. He left the country on Sunday on a U.N. flight bound for Nairobi.