Journalists arrested without charge in Djibouti

New York, January 15, 2016 – Officials in Djibouti should immediately release two journalists arrested this week, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Police arrested Kadar Abdi Ibrahim on Thursday, and arrested Mohamed Ibrahim Waiss on Monday, but have yet to charge either, according to the Facebook page of a local publication.

Kadar Abdi Ibrahim, a writer and the co-director of the monthly Aurore (Dawn), was arrested at his home on Thursday, US-based Djiboutian scholar Abdourahman Waberi told CPJ. Aurore is a publication of the country’s opposition party, the Union Pour Le Salut National (USN). Police arrested Ibrahim immediately after the paper’s most recent edition was published, Waberi said.

“Journalists should not be jailed for reporting or commentating on events as they see them, even if they are deemed to work for politically aligned publications,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Sue Valentine. “Djibouti authorities must either explain why these journalists are detained or immediately release them.”

Mohamed Ibrahim Waiss, a journalist with the independent radio station Voix de Djibouti, was arrested on Monday afternoon, and has since been held incommunicado, denied access to either his family or his lawyer, according to a news report and the Voix de Djibouti’s Twitter account. Waberi told CPJ that Wais was covering a small political demonstration in Balbala at the time of his arrest. Waiss had previously been targeted by Djiboutian authorities, having been arrested while covering local protests in 2014, according to CPJ research.