Nairobi, Kenya, October 16, 2023—The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes an October 11 court decision to dismiss the criminal case against Somali journalist Mohamed Ibrahim Osman Bulbul and calls on authorities to desist from arbitrarily detaining journalists.
“Mohamed Ibrahim Osman Bulbul endured nearly two months of detention and faced punitive legal proceedings simply because he dared to report allegations of corruption,” said Muthoki Mumo, CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative. “While it is a relief that the case against Mohamed is over, Somali authorities owe it to him to investigate the circumstances under which he was detained arbitrarily and ensure that no journalists suffer similar ordeals in the future.”
Somali police detained Mohamed, an editor with the privately owned Kaab TV and the information and human rights secretary for the local press rights group Somali Journalists Syndicate, on August 17, a day after he published a report on allegations of corruption within the police force.
He was denied access to his lawyer and family and was charged in September with anti-national propaganda, bringing the Somali nation into contempt, causing false alarm, and publishing false news, according to the charge sheet reviewed by CPJ and a Somali Journalists Syndicate statement.
On September 25, a court in Mogadishu ruled that since Mohamed was a journalist, he could not be charged under the penal code and directed the prosecution to present new charges in conformity with the country’s media law, according to statements by the syndicate and a person familiar with the case who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity citing fear of professional retaliation.
When the prosecution failed to present new charges against Mohamed during an October 11 hearing, the court discontinued the case.