Somaliland: Human Rights Centre call for immediate release Somali poet

A Human Rights Centre in Hargeisa called on the Somaliland government to release a prominent Somali female poet who has been detained for her views.

Naema Ahmed Ibrahim was arrested on late last month by Somaliland spy agency as she was planning to travel to Somali capital, according to her father.

Guleid Ahmed Jama, the chairman of Human Rights Centre Somaliland said the arrest of Ibrahim was against Somaliland constitution and international Human rights law.

“The arrest of Naema without a court warrant for expressing her opinion is contrary to the constitution. Both the constitution of Somaliland and the international human rights instruments guarantee freedom of expression,” noted Jama.

He added, ” We are very concerned about the detention of Naema who is held for her political opinion. The government should respect its Constitution.”

Alleged posts about unity of Somalia

Naema who is also activist campaigning for woman rights was held for alleged posts related to the unity of Somalia and Somaliland, according to her lawyer, Mubarak Abdi.

“No official charges have been filed by the prosecution. But she is held for Facebook posts allegedly related to the unity of Somalia,” said Abdi.

He pointed out that Naema was arrested without a court warrant.

“According to Article 25 of Somaliland Constitution, “No person may be arrested, searched, or detained, except when caught in flagrante delicto,[53] or on the issue of a reasoned arrest warrant by a competent judge,” the lawyer explained.

Family visit denied

Somaliland police have reportedly denied Naema’s family to see her at the detention centre after the father spoke to the media about the incident, according to family members.

Jama urged the government of Somaliland to allow family members to visit her.

“Human Rights Centre requests the government of Somaliland to allow family members to visit her immediately, and to ultimately release Naema,” he said.

It is not the first time Somaliland authorities have arbitrarily arrested individuals suspected to support opinions related unification of greater Somalia.

Last year, Somaliland court had sentenced Abdimalik Muse Oldon, a journalist two years after he was convicted of meeting Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Oldon was freed a month later after the then President of Somaliland Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo pardon.

Somaliland declared itself independent nation from Somalia in 1991 following the collapse of Somali central government though it is yet to be recognized as a nation by the international community.