Somali authorities should immediately release Sabir Abdulkadir Warsame, a broadcast journalist with the privately owned Somali Cable TV, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Saturday 10 February.
Sabir was arrested by regional security forces in the semi-autonomous state of Jubbaland on Thursday February 8, and had been held without charge in the state capital of Kismayo, according to a report by the Voice of America and Hassan Adde, general director of Somali Cable TV who spoke to CPJ, said CPJ Africa programme co-ordinator Angela Quintal.
Hassan told CPJ that at the time of his arrest, Sabir was interviewing members of the public about the first anniversary of the election of Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo).
“Arresting and detaining Sabir Abdulkadir for simply doing his job as a journalist is outrageous,” Quintal said. “He should be immediately released without charge and free to continue reporting in the public interest.”
Speaking to CPJ through a translator, Jubbaland information minister Abdinur Ali Adan said he had been informed of Sabir’s arrest. He said the journalist was in “safe hands” and would be produced in court on Saturday morning, though he said he did not have more information about the court proceedings.
While filming the interviews, the journalist unintentionally filmed a vehicle carrying charcoal, triggering his arrest, according to Sabir’s colleague who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
Charcoal export from Somalia is illegal, according to a 2012 UN Security Council resolution aimed at cutting funding for al-Shabaab.
Hassan told CPJ that he did not know that the journalist had captured any footage of a vehicle ferrying charcoal.
– African News Agency (ANA)