Puntland: MAP eulogizes release of online journalist, demands for an end towards ”Gov’t’s’ unjust campaign against independent journalism.

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Press Release

July 17, 2017

Garowe, Puntland; The Media Association of Puntland is elated that Ahmed Ali Kilwe is out of prison, the release of the online Journalist yesterday is an end to the injustice he has suffered for the last two weeks while in prison.Ahmed Kilwe was arrested on July 02, 2017 by the Puntland counterterrorism police on the orders of President Abdiweli Ali for allegedly “posting articles impertinent to the Puntland president.”

We are thrilled to see Kilwe finally free, but he should have never been imprisoned in the first place. It is outrageous that he has been detained without charges and stayed in Jail for those fourteen days”, said Omar Mohamed, MAP’s director of communications and advocacy.

Journalists should not be treated like Terrorists
Soon after Ahmed Ali Kilwe was released, he held a press conference in Garowe, he spoke out on vital issues that included the ”modus operandi” of his arrest and the seizure and search of his cell phone without his consent. Ahmed expressed discontentment disclosing that he was held at the prison wards designated to Inmates Convicted of Terrorism Charges.

The seizure of Kilwe’s phone was not supported by any probable cause, Law enforcement must have a warrant to search a suspect’s phone. MAP calls on the Puntland President H.E Abdiweli Ali to immediately investigate the incident and take appropriate disciplinary action against the concerned officers.

The Media Association is extremely disturbed by the way Kilwe has been treated, let alone the illegality of his arrest. The allegations on seizure of Kilwe’s phone is not acceptable and a tarnished act that violates the individual dignity of property ownership, undermines Kilwe’s privacy, puts his sources at risk and violates the very basic civil right and a deliberate stab at the heart to the fundamental human right of Freedom of Expression.

Editors-in-chief, Media executives who also joined Kilwe in the press conference and expressed mixed feelings about the release of thier colleague. At first they of-course welcomed the release of the colleague, but also sent a message to the Puntland Authorities in which they called for uphold of the rule of law and respect to the State’s constitution.

Ahmed Awil Jama, Director of Radio Garowe, noted ”if Kilwe committed a crime we expected our state top officials’ reactions to have gone through the legal path through courts but they gov’t did not go through the path we expected, adding this regretable and doesn’t reflect on the Puntland’s 18yrs of government existence said the director.

Journalism is not terrorism or a crime but it’s the unique profession that highlights the wrongs and good things societies/individuals do on daily basis. Somalia cannot work in an actual fact without Media in place; MAP repeals to the Puntland President, Government officials, Security forces and the Judiciary to collectively recognize and promote the respect of state constitutional provisions on freedom of expression, uphold the rule of law and ensure practice of legal procedures on warrants and arrests.

For a number of years now, Somalia has had the dubious distinction of being among the most “dangerous countries” for journalists in the world, according to national and international watchdogs monitoring freedom of expression.

The Somali media remains challenged by censorship, intimidation, harassment, unlawful detention, imprisonment and mysterious assassinations bearing the hallmarks of extremism and political instigation.

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