CPJ writes to president about detained journalist

New York, March 21, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists today wrote to Somalia’s president, Col. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, urging him to investigate the continuing detention of Abdirisak Ahmed Absuge by forces loyal to faction leader Mohamed Dhere. Absuge is editor of www.guulane.com, Dhere’s official website.

According to local sources, Absuge was arrested on March 5 in the district of Jawhar, where Dhere is chairman of the self-appointed administration. It is unclear whether Absuge was detained because of his journalism, but local sources told CPJ that his arrest stemmed from his management of the Web site. CPJ has received allegations that Absuge may have been tortured while in detention.

President Yusuf was elected last year by a peace conference in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, that included all Somalia’s main faction leaders. He is to head a transitional, federal government of national reconciliation. However, the federal institutions have yet to return to Somalia because of security concerns. Yusuf and his prime minister visited Jawhar at the end of February, where they were received by regional leader Dhere.

Read the letter.