Our Voices

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights demands immediate release of Somali journalist and human rights defender Abdalle Ahmed Mumin

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest and detention of Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Somali journalist, human rights activist, and Secretary General of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and urges Somali authorities to immediately release him and end all harassment, intimidation, threats, and violence against journalists and civil society activists in Somalia.

On October 11, Abdalle was arrested by officers from the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) while he was at the airport in Mogadishu. He is currently being detained in Godka Jilaow, a NISA detention facility near the Presidential Palace. The day prior to his arrest, NISA officers raided SJS’s offices in Mogadishu. Further, his arrest comes the day after SJS and other media groups issued a statement and held a press conference in response to a new directive issued by the Ministry of Information which suspends more than 40 social media pages and includes an overly-broad ban on the “dissemination of extremism ideology messages” either “intentionally or unintentionally, directly or indirectly and consciously or unconsciously.”

“We are very shocked to learn of the arbitrary arrest of Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, SJS Secretary General, and the raid of our offices, which signals the government’s intention to intimidate and silence the independent media under the guise of national security” said Mohamed Ibrahim, SJS President. “We condemn Abdalle’s arrest in the strongest terms possible and call for the Somali government to release him unconditionally and investigate the officers behind the attack on our offices and arrest of our Secretary General”.

Abdalle started his journalism career nine years ago when he began covering news for international media and then later became a freelance journalist. In 2019 he launched SJS, an organization that defends the rights of working journalists and promotes press freedom. He has been detained several times for his journalism and activism. Abdalle is a renowned activist and remains a staunch and courageous defender of human rights and civil society in the country.

This incident is part of a broader trend of increasing attacks by the Somali government on journalists, press freedom, and civic space in recent years. Journalists in Somalia often face multiple threats including harassment, attacks, arrests, and even killings. “We call on Somali authorities to release Abdalle immediately and to ensure that journalists can safely and freely continue their vital work in the country,” said Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “Journalism should not be a crime.”

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights calls on all allies of Somalia, the United Nations and African Union to urge President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to facilitate the immediate release of Abdalle and guarantee his safety and reunification with his family.

To continue monitoring this situation and the broader situation of journalists in Somalia, please see the Somali Journalists Syndicate’s website.