Djibouti journalist detained for covering demonstration

Police arrested Mohamed Ibrahim, a journalist for the pro-opposition news website and radio station, La Voix de Djibouti (The Voice of Djibouti), on December 12, 2013, while he was covering a protest in the Balbala suburb of the capital, Djibouti City, according to local journalists. 

The demonstration was staged by women demanding land plots that had been promised by the government after authorities demolished residences in their neighborhood, the journalists said.

Mohamed was held 78 hours over the statutory maximum pre-trial custody of four days. Police initially held Mohamed at the Fourth District Police Station in Balbala, then transferred him to Central Gabode Prison a few days later, according to La Voix de Djibouti Chief Editor Daher Ahmed. He was charged with inciting a demonstration. 

On December 19, 2013, a judge at the Court of First Instances granted him bail and remanded the case to January 2, 2014, the journalist’s defense lawyer, Zakaria Ali Abdillahi, said.

Mohamed’s case is the latest in a long list of harassments and detentions of journalists working for the critical news website. On December 4, 2013, police detained and beat La Voix de Djibouti journalists Abdourahman Houssein and Sadam Ainan while they were covering a police raid on market stall vendors in the Maka Moukarama Market, according to local journalists.