More Than 24,000 People Petitioned Ethiopian Government to Free Somali Journalist

Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

27 MARCH 2014

Today’s good news is, more than 24,000 people across the world signed a petition launched by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) for the release of Somali Journalist Mohamed Aweys Mudey, who was unjustly sentenced to 27-year in prison in Ethiopia.

The petition calls on the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn to free Mohamed Aweys Mudey immediately and unconditionally, emphasising that Mudey is a journalist, not a terrorist. The petitioners in 97 countries across the world are journalists, press freedom & human rights activities and intellectuals.

Ethiopia is famous of using notorious anti-terrorism law to curtail journalists’ freedom. While people who were arrested with Mudey were freed, the Ethiopian persecutors pressed charges against him of possessing information of Al-Shabaab operations in Ethiopia since he is a journalist, and of participating terror activities in Ethiopia.

Mudey was repeatedly demanded by Ethiopia’s interrogating officers to tell information about Al-Shabaab operations in Ethiopia which he does not have. Eyewitnesses confirmed Mudey being tortured in order to disclose any information of Al-Shabaab and to do false confession.

The union strongly rejects the charges and condemned the guilty verdict as well as the harsh sentence. “Mohamed Aweys Mudey is not guilty of any crime. He is persecuted the fact that he is a journalist and the fact that he is a Somali. What they did to Mudey is just trumped up terror charge” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

NUSOJ has today delivered the Petition to the Ethiopian Prime Minister the on behalf of signatories.

“We have a powerful message for the Ethiopian authorities – one that they must free Mohamed Aweys Mudey. Our message has been bolstered by the massive people who came out in thousands and signed this plea for Mudey’s release,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

“Justifying the detention of a journalist under the pretext of terror is the unembarrassed behaviour of authoritarian regime,” he added.

On the occasion of today’s summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Kampala, NUSOJ has called the Prime Minister of Somalia Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed to ask his Ethiopian counterpart to free one of Somalia’s finest, respected and veteran journalists, Mohamed Aweys Mudey.

The NUSOJ petition is backed by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), IFEX, African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) and sister journalist union worldwide.


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