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Somalia: Update - Appeals Court upholds sentencing of radio journalist Mr Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim
On 3 March 2013, an appeals court in Mogadishu upheld the sentencing of human rights defender Mr Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim, and reduced his term of imprisonment from one year to six months.
The human rights defender, also known as Koronto, had been originally sentenced to one year imprisonment on 5 February 2013, following his attempt to investigate the case of a woman who claimed to have been raped by state security forces. His defence team reportedly intend to appeal the court's decision to the Supreme Court. Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim is a radio journalist working for two private radio stations, Radio Dalsan and Radio Ergo, both broadcasting from Mogadishu.
Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim was arrested on 10 January 2013 and subsequently convicted on 5 February 2013 of fabricating the aforementioned reported rape in a news story, as well as allegedly entering the house of the reported rape victim without consent.
Journalists and human rights defenders who observed the trial reported serious procedural irregularities, including dominance by the prosecution and insufficient time afforded to Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim to defend himself. While charges against the reported rape victim were dropped by the appeals court on 3 March 2013, Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim's sentencing was upheld, with a reduced term of imprisonment imposed.
Front Line Defenders expresses serious concern at the upholding of Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim's sentencing, and reiterates its concern regarding reported due process irregularities during the trial. Front Line Defenders views the sentencing of Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim as being solely motivated by his legitimate work as an investigative radio journalist in Somalia, and urges the authorities to ensure a reversal of the sentencing and the immediate release of the human rights defender.
For more information on this case, please see Front Line Defenders' urgent appeal issued on 7 February 2013.