International Federation of Journalists
Saturday, March 30, 2013
A military tribunal in Somalia has convicted
an alleged Al-Shabab militant of killing journalist Hassan Yusuf Absuge,
according to the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).
Absuge, who worked for Radio Maanta as head of programmes, was gunned
down in Mogadishu on 21 September last year. Adan Sheikh Andi Sheikh
Hussein was today found guilty of the murder and sentenced to death,
"We hope that the investigation and prosecution of this case signal
the commitment to eradicate the impunity for crimes against journalists
in Somalia," said Beth costa, IFJ General Secretary. "Many families of
Somali journalists who died in violence deserve justice. This conviction
raises their hopes of achieving that and they should not be let down."
NUSOJ, an IFJ affiliate, quoted the presiding judge as saying that
there was compelling evidence against Hussein, including the murder
weapon which was seized on him by security forces. The tribunal was also
shown message exchanges on his mobile phone discussing the journalist's
murder with his superiors.
Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ's General Secretary, said that this is the
first case of a journalist's murder to be resolved by Somali
authorities. He urged them to pursue other killers who continue to enjoy
"We hope that justice will be similarly done for colleagues who were
murdered by criminals who are not afraid of rule of law," he added.
"This verdict sends a powerful message to them that their crimes will
not remain unpunished."
Hussein was put on trial before a military tribunal as an Al-Shabab
fighter. The Islamist group claimed responsibility for Absuge's murder,
accusing him of 'spying against Allah's forces'.
Last year, Somalia was ranked as one the deadliest countries for
journalists in the IFJ annual report on journalists and media staff
killed in 2012, with 18 killings.